Valedictory Speakers

Jones, Teneal Marie

A warm aloha to President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, students, families and guests.

When I first moved here two years ago, people would ask me why I chose to go to HPU.  I told them, "HELLO! It's in Hawaii, it's by the beach and it is about as far away from my parents as I could get!"  I quickly learned though, that if I was going to be successful here at HPU, I would be spending countless afternoons studying hard -- at the beach of course!  Although my time at HPU didn't allow me to soak up as much of Hawaii as I had hoped, I've gained many other important things -- besides a tan!

As an advertising major, I had the advantage of benefiting from an amazing College of Communication.  Most of my professors were actual professionals that worked in the field everyday who then came to class to share with us their expertise.  Their real-world experience and stories provided more insight into my future career than any text book ever could. 

The small class size here at HPU also proved to be beneficial.  The professors were able to develop a relationship with each of us -- and although they noticed when we hit the beach instead of class, we had a unique opportunity to network and learn from these individuals who have a successful career in the field we are trying to enter.  They offered letters of recommendation and invitations to join them in professional settings.  This kind of attention would not be possible if we were in an auditorium classroom with four hundred other students.

Perhaps the most valuable thing I gained from HPU was the requirement to do an internship.  Most of us dreaded fulfilling this requirement because it meant we had to work for FREE in most cases.  This is not good news to a starving college student.  What we didn't realize, though, is that this is the best way to get our foot in the door.  I was adopted onto marketing team at Starbucks and Jamba Juice.  Luckily, I was paid, but what I learned during my internship was priceless.  I was given the tools and the real life experience in what it takes to be a professional rather than a student.  Because of my internship, I have been offered a full time position with Starbucks and Jamba Juice.

I am standing up here tonight because of all the love and support from my friends, boyfriend and family.  Mom and Dad, I dedicate tonight to you.  Thank you for your encouragement, faith and well, your money.  I love you guys and owe you a tremendous amount of gratitude.

One of my professors here at HPU told me to steal from the best until I am the best.  So here it goes:

1 semester at HPU : $5,184
1 trip to the book store: $453
1 months bus pass: $27

The knowledge, experience, opportunity, memories and friends gained here at HPU: $23,4... just kidding. It's priceless.