Julie Sparks, a mother of three, realtor, and third-year student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law has been named 2014 Hawaiʻi Mother of the Year. Sparks will be honored by American Mothers Inc., Hawaiʻi Association at a banquet on Saturday, March 29, at the Hale Koa Hotel Banyan Tree Showroom.
A divorcee and single mom who remarried five years ago, Sparks breaks many stereotypical Mommy molds. Along with a full-time load of law school courses, she’s a full-time realtor, and also spends one day a week on an externship with Senator Sam Slom’s Minority Research Office.
At the forefront for Sparks are her 19-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter. Her 22-year-old stepdaughter is married and living on the mainland. Sparks’ commitment has carried her through the tough times of teenage rebellion, hours of pure exhaustion and those moments of disappointment when both older children decided college wasn’t for them now.
“I finally learned to let go of who I want them to be and let them be who they are,” says Sparks. “It’s a hard lesson to learn as a mother.”
In April, she will join honorees from other states for the national American Mother of the Year competition in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I think my generation was sold a bill of goods, that you’re not very valuable if you’re just raising kids,” she said. “But the most important job you can do is to make sure you’re raising good people, because it affects everyone for the future.”
Read the School of Law’s news release for more on Sparks.