Making Hawaii Community College proud: TV news reporter receives alumni of year award

  • Courtesy photo
    Hawaii Community College 2018 Alumni of the Year Award recipient Lacy Deniz with Harold Nishimura, left, the 2017 recipient, and Hawaii CC Alumni & Friends president Bobby Yamane.

As a girl growing up in Honaunau, Lacy Deniz always dreamed of being a television news reporter. She recalls watching KGMB and “just knowing deep down inside that I could really see myself doing that.”

She has achieved that dream, and is now the traffic reporter on “Hawaii News Now Sunrise.”

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“It’s really about doing a service to the community,” Deniz said recently of her job on the morning show. “Every morning I get to wake up and help people get to work in the morning.”

Before she was a news reporter, Deniz was a student at Hawaii Community College’s campus in West Hawaii, which was formerly in Kealakekua. She earned her associate of arts in liberal arts degree, graduating in 2012. She then transferred to the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications.

The Hawaii Community College Alumni & Friends organization announced in February that Deniz is the recipient of the 2018 Alumni of the Year Award for the Hawaii CC campus. She was honored during an event last month at the Manono campus in Hilo.

Deniz also will be the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremonies at the Hawaii Community College – Palamanui campus on May 12.

“We are proud to recognize Lacy Deniz as the recipient of our 2018 Alumni of the Year Award,” said Robert Yamane, president of Hawaii CC Alumni & Friends. “She is part of the younger generation of alumni and has achieved success within her first 10 years since graduation, embodying what it means to learn, to lead, to serve and to inspire future generations.”

During the fifth annual Hawaii Community College Day event Feb. 8, Deniz participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from middle and high school students about how to succeed in college.

“Lacy’s story is a testament to the value of students starting their higher education journey at Hawaii CC before transferring to a university,” said Hawaii CC Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas. “For decades we have provided these pathways for students and we continue to develop new ones. We are proud to have Lacy as a member of the Hawaii CC ‘ohana.”

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Deniz credits her experience at Hawaii CC and the support she received at the college with helping her secure an internship at Hawaii News Now that launched her career in journalism.

“I really want to thank Hawaii Community College for helping me take that leap of faith and pushing me to the next level,” Deniz said. “They encouraged me to think about what I was going to do after college and figure out the steps to get there, and they backed me up through the process.”