Larry K. Kekaulike
Co-Director of College Guidance
Maryknoll School (HI)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I was working with Young Life Hawai’i and was looking for a change. A lot of my former Young Life Hawai’i students from The Kamehameha Schools Kapalama High School were enrolled at Whitworth (College) University in Spokane, Washington. That is where I got my start in the admission profession in July 1996. In 1999, I got married and moved back to Hawai’i just three months later. From 2000 to 2006, I worked at in admissions at Hawai’i Pacific University before going over to the high school side of the desk here at Maryknoll School. I have been at Maryknoll since 2006.

What is your favorite part of the job?
Working with students through the college research and application processes. It is satisfying to see students learn and understand who they are as a person and then figure out their likes, wants, and passions related to their future life in college. Just before graduation, many of my students will come back to my office to reflect and talk through their journey here at Maryknoll. It’s great to see the sparkle in their eyes as they are anxious, scared, and excited for all that awaits them in college.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
My journey started with NACAC in 1996. I went to all the professional development sessions and NACAC conferences on the west coast. Then in 2000, while I was working at Hawai’i Pacific University, I was asked to join the local NACAC Honolulu College Fair committee. As a young professional, I just sat back and soaked in all the knowledge and insight from all the “old timers” such Myron Arakawa (Kamehameha Schools and Punahou School) and Jean Fukuji (Radford High School). Life has come full circle in the last five years as I have been co-chair of the local NACAC Honolulu College Fair committee. After a two-year break due to COVID-19, we are looking forward to having our 2022 Fall NACAC Honolulu College Fair back in person on Tuesday, Oct. 18. I also got involved as a HACAC delegate in 2006. It was great to understand all NACAC’s bylaws and best practices. Then in 2010, I was HACAC’s president. That experience was amazing—learning how to lead my colleagues here in Hawai’i as well as connecting with my amazing “Best Class Ever” ACAC presidents. I am still in contact with my amazing classmates for their encouragement and support.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today?
At our respective schools, we are all pulled in so many directions in a school day, week, month, and year. We are called more than ever to do countless tasks beyond the scope of our expertise in college counseling and advising. I find myself with less and less energy the more years I put into this college counseling profession.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?
I will always make it a priority to enjoy time with our 12-year-old daughter, Quinn, and my wife, Kathryn. We enjoy supporting Quinn in her passion for playing softball and we love going to the movies as a family. I also enjoy cheering on our beloved Seattle Seahawks. Go Hawks!!! I LOVE food! I love cooking, grilling, eating, and taking pictures of food! Food brings people together. It allows me to connect and see friends who I haven’t seen for a while. Gathering allows us to laugh, share stories, and eat ono (delicious) food.

What five words would you use to describe yourself?
I will share just one word. In ‘olelo Hawai’i, the Hawaiian language, the word ALOHA literally means “the presence of breath” or “breath of life.” Aloha is a way of treating others with deep respect and love. Everything I am goes back to the word, ALOHA. If you are having a dreadful day, the ALOHA you have for yourself will help you pull through. When things are going well and you are on the mountain top, give ALOHA back to others with a sense of gratefulness and appreciation.