Photos Courtesy: Rhea Grace Manzano
Rhea Grace on Oliver becoming a Marine: “I am proud of Oliver and everything he has accomplished. I’ve never gotten along with him until this moment. Seeing him grow into a mature, young gentleman in three months is enough to make me proud for a lifetime. Many have doubted his abilities, including himself. Oliver becoming a Marine prove those doubters wrong – himself included…”
Name: Oliver A. Manzano
Year Graduated: 2013
WHIS Extra-Curricular Activities: Judo; Cross Country; Wrestling
University of Hawaii at West Oahu Extra-Curricular Activities: National Honor Society for Justice Majors (Alpha Phi Sigma); Community Emergency Response Team Training (CERT)
Family: Maria Magdalena Manzano (mother), Bernardino Manzano (brother), Rhea Grace Manzano (sister)
Occupation/Employment: Private First Class, United States Marine Reserve; Front-End Assistant at Costco Waipio
College Attending: University of Hawaii at West Oahu
Degree Attaining: Bachelor of Arts in Justice Administration
What do you miss most about Waialua High School?
“Waialua High School felt like a second home to me. I really miss the small community, the familiar faces, and how cool everyone was!!”
What lessons did you take from Waialua that helped you in your life/career?
“The teachers at Waialua would always emphasize organization and planning. Life is always going to be chaotic and if you let yourself fall into that, you’ll be going in circles in your career or goals. Always have a battle plan, a direction, and stay organized! Be flexible too!”
Is there a teacher who helped you out in high school? What did they do for you?
“There were two teachers: Mr. Gregory Kamisato and Mr. Allan Boxman. Inspiration was really hard to come by especially during my senior year when everything was so busy. What Mr. Kamisato and Mr. Boxman did was continue talking to me about the future (college and careers) and what that did for me was keep my spark going. They were also my confidants and mentored me in times of heavy stress!”
Why did you join the Marines?
“I felt it was God’s calling for me to go forth and serve the American people and those abroad. I wanted to exceed my mental and physical limits and I was also hungry for challenge and change. Hearing about how hard the Marine Corps training was also attracted me to join.”
What was the hardest thing about basic training?
“The hardest thing was definitely homesickness. It was extremely difficult not to think about my mom and everything back home especially when three drill instructors were screaming at you.”
What advice would you like to give to the kids at Waialua now?:
“Keep your options open and never ever let the fear of the unknown limit what kinds of careers you want to pursue. When I first left high school, i only saw myself working jobs that would make me sit behind a computer. Later on, I figured I wanted to explore other places and learn more about military weapons! There’s always going to be more than one path, just make sure you bravely pursue the path that interests you.”