Taylor Eleola ‘19: Staying Focused on the Big Picture

Christina Yasutomi

Taylor Eleola ‘19 will be attending the University of Hawaii at Hilo this fall to study pharmacy. She received the Chancellor’s Scholarship which covers her undergraduate tuition and will help subsidize two years of her tuition for the pharmacy program.

Academics have never come naturally to Eleola, but she makes up for it by working hard. When she entered HBA as a freshman, she struggled in her math and science classes. Sophomore year was her “busy year.” 

“Before school I would meet with Mrs. Djajamuliadi for math tutoring. After school, I would meet with Mr. Shiroma for tutoring in my chemistry classes,” said Eleola. 
She kept at it, and her persistence and discipline paid off. Eleola says she now excels in her math and science courses. Additionally, those experiences have confirmed her desire to be a pharmacist.

Eleola attributes her strong work ethic to two things: the first is HBA’s culture which strongly emphasizes excellence in academics; the second is her mother, who was a summa cum laude graduate from James Campbell High School. Her mother was also the first in her family to earn a college degree and graduated top of her class at UH Manoa’s nursing program. 

“My mom struggled and she wanted me to have a good education and more opportunities. It was always the plan for me to go to a Christian private school.”

Besides her strong work ethic, Eleola is able to succeed because she keeps her goals in perspective. 

“Don’t sweat the little things, and focus on the big picture. I know at a competitive school like HBA, everyone is always stressed and worried about every test that’s coming up. I think that was something I struggled with freshman and sophomore year. I was struggling with two classes that were important to the career I wanted. Since sophomore year, I’ve done really well in all of my science and math classes, and I think it’s important not to let a small part of the big picture bring you down from your goal.”

In addition to her academics, Eleola immersed herself in the school’s extra-curricular opportunities. She was a member of the National Honor Society’s Student-Teacher Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Club, which hosts social events where students and teachers can build relationships outside of the classroom. She was also a member of Interact, a community service club, and was a volunteer tutor for middle school math and high school chemistry.

Outside of school, Eleola volunteered at Kulana Malama, a nursing home in Ewa Beach for medically fragile children. She also works part time at The Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaii as a pool attendant, where she manages the slide area and provides support in customer service.

Eleola is looking forward to her next chapter in life. The pharmacy program will take six to seven years to complete, which may seem long, but her big picture perspective is helping her to keep a positive attitude. She hopes to become a clinical pharmacist, where she will work directly with patients to advise, educate, and help them manage their illness. Clinical pharmacists are also involved in the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.