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Senior Experience: Navigators Journey into the World of Architecture, Finance, and Hospitality

On Friday, October 13, Island Pacific Academy’s Class of 2024 students were treated to an extraordinary experience that provided a glimpse into the roles of professionals in three diverse industries – architecture, finance, and hospitality – and opened their eyes to career possibilities they may not have considered.

Exploring Architecture

The first stop on the Senior Experience was a visit to the prestigious architectural firm, G70. Students were introduced to the web of roles that come together to create awe-inspiring structures, and were surprised by the diversity of professional opportunities within the firm – from the architects to the interior designers, to the civil and structural engineers – each requiring a unique set of skills.

Project architect Kevin Loo-Chan, AIA, who hosted the students, emphasized the importance of design thinking and problem solving in their field. He explained how critical thinking plays a pivotal role in transforming concepts into tangible, functional spaces. The students were inspired by the innovative projects and gained an appreciation for the collaborative effort required to bring architectural visions to life.

“The visit gave the students a really great perspective on the diversity of jobs, and the critical skills needed to succeed, all within just one firm,” shared Teramae.

Navigating Finance

During their visit to First Hawaiian Center, the world corporate headquarters of First Hawaiian Bank, the oldest and largest bank based in Hawaiʻi, students learned about the multifaceted world of finance and banking from First Hawaiian Bank Executive Vice President and Division Manager, Cameron Nekota. They gained invaluable insights into the importance of strategic decision-making and fostering trust, as well as teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills as essential tools for navigating the complexities of the financial world, where adaptability and ingenuity often determine success. To cap it off, the students were treated to a special lunch at the exclusive Bankers Club on the 30th floor, where they enjoyed not only an elegant meal, but also a breathtaking view of Honolulu.

Discovering Hospitality

The final leg of their journey took the seniors to the luxurious Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina, where they learned about the world of hospitality and service, as well as the diverse career paths available within the hospitality industry. Students were given a tour through both the front and back of the house, providing a look at the seamless efforts required to provide guests with an exceptional experience. Their tour was followed by a Q&A with the heads of various departments, including marketing, housekeeping, food & beverage, and human resources. The students learned that beyond technical expertise, soft skills like communication, empathy, and adaptability are important in providing the world-class service that the resort prides itself on. They were later treated to a spread of refreshments provided by the resort’s food & beverage team.

Building Essential Skills for their Future

Throughout these visits, a common thread emerged – the importance of key skills that transcend industries. Design thinking, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration were echoed in each setting as skills that are valued and essential for success in any career path.

“The Senior Experience was, I think, very relevant to what we’re doing here at Island Pacific Academy,” shared Teramae. “Design thinking, project-based learning, relevance, and rigor – we’re already doing a lot of this. Education is changing and we have to be at the leading edge of where education is headed.”

The Senior Experience shows how our school is dedicated to preparing students for their future careers by providing a deeper understanding of potential career paths. IPA students will graduate not only with academic knowledge, but also with the skills and confidence needed to excel in an ever-evolving world.