Celebrate our 2018 graduates: Leadership roles prompt interest in human resources

  • Jeryll John “JJ” Bernardo

Jeryll John “JJ” Bernardo, 17

Hometown: Pahoa


GPA: 4.013

Plans after high school? I plan to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I was accepted to their Shidler College of Business as a direct admission student. I plan to undertake studies in human resource management. In high school, I’ve been called to lead different organizations (such as) Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society and the AVID program. I felt it really was an extraordinary privilege to be able to serve as a leader of those organizations and I thought, “I want a career as a leader to help make an organization productive, fruitful and profitable.”

Ideally, I’d like to work at an educational institution because I’ve been in school half my life and if I’m not in school I just love to learn. Being in an educational institution just feels inspiring. For example, I’d like to work in a place such as UH’s human resources department.

Extracurricular activities/hobbies? Probably my favorite (extracurricular activity) is the FFA and I served as the chapter president. This past March, I also just completed my term as the state president of the entire Hawaii FFA Association. So I was able to lead the entire state and all the members from across the islands.

I also play the piano, I’ve been playing piano since I was 7 years old.

Ten years from now, where do you hope to be? In 10 years, I’d probably expect myself to have a master’s degree in business administration. I’ll probably be working for a (place) like an educational institution or a financial institution. Somewhere where the atmosphere is professional and you have to dress professional. For some reason, when I’m in business attire I feel comfortable. It just feels like, “This is who I am” and “These are the clothes I want to be wearing the rest of my life.” It just feels comfortable to me and it truly reflects who I am.


Advice for entering freshmen at Pahoa next year? Make the best of it. Here in Pahoa, we’ve been threatened by many natural disasters. I mean, we’ve been hit by the 2014 lava flow, a tropical storm and now this recent volcanic activity. But the one thing I like about Pahoa is we never stop. We always go with the flow and we keep going.

So that’s my advice to freshmen: There will be times when Pahoa will be hit hard. And we’ve been hit hard before. But we are known for persevering and rising to the top above everything else.

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