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Tasha Dela Rama (right) with her husband and their three children.

A University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu student is determined to be an example for her three children as she graduates this fall semester after a more than 10-year journey to obtain her BA degree in psychology.

Tasha Dela Rama, a first-generation college student from Kapolei, wants her children to understand the value of relentlessness, perseverance and the power of change.

“No matter what circumstances we’re in, we can always make a difference in our lives,” Dela Rama said. “You just need a little bit of persistence and hard work—traits I’ve gotten from my parents. My graduation will teach my children that.”

Dela Rama will be among more than 700 spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates who will be celebrated at UH West Oʻahu’s Virtual Commencement Ceremony, on Saturday, December 12 at 9 a.m.

Setting an example

Dela Rama juggles school with family and work responsibilities. On top of being a mother and wife, doing her own school work and helping all of her children navigate distance learning, she runs a handmade goods business, Modernly Vintage Reserve.

Katrina Abes and Joseph Mareko, co-instructors of Student Development (SD) 250: Personal Development for Effective Teams, noted that Dela Rama, “has been a great example of what it means to be resilient through the multiple roles she carries and being steadfast amid this pandemic.”

“Where vulnerability is normally seen as a weak trait, Tasha has expressed and modeled how vulnerability is a strength, and she will continue to carry on after she graduates,” Abes and Mareko said.

Looking ahead

After graduation, Dela Rama said she hopes to apply to the UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law within three years. As she looks ahead, she is grateful for how UH West Oʻahu has prepared her for what’s next.

“I have met wonderful professors who truly care about you and people who share the same life experiences,” she said. “I’ve picked up an array of skills and UH West Oʻahu has taught me that failure is not an end-all be-all, but an opportunity to reassess, reanalyze and recreate yourself to be a better you.”

Message for graduates

Dela Rama shares this message to future UH West Oʻahu graduates:

“During this journey—if you’ve just started, are in the deep or soon to graduate—never forget where you came from,” she said. “Your experiences—good, bad and ugly—have led you to this present moment. You are worth it.”

Dela Rama asks students to be kind to their future selves and to remember to be the change that they want to see in the world.

“I believe in you, and this campus—our UH West Oʻahu community—cares about you,” Dela Rama said.

Read the full story at Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

—By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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Tasha Dela Rama
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