Q: What did you do you before working at Life Academy?
A: She was a keypunch operator. She worked there for five years. She says it was very boring. While in Hawaii, she worked at child protective service as an intake clerk. She used to take reports. Since then, she loved working with kids. She saw their struggles and devoted herself to helping children.
Q: How long have you been working at Life Academy?
A: Eleven years
Q: What has made you stay at Life Academy?
A: “Students, staff, teachers; they are like a family.” She really likes working with youth. She sees students’ struggles day in and day out. She appreciates students’ sacrifices and wants to help students feel successful.
Q: Why are you so devoted to your work?
A: Venus’s commitment started a long time ago. She brings her values to Life Academy because they are very important to her.
In her own words, “I had two of my own children that graduated from Life Academy. My son, Lama, graduated in 2003 and my daughter, Nakisha, graduated in 2005. To be honest with you I think that’s where my relationship with the students began. They look at me as a Mother figure and treated me very different than they would treat other staff members. There was this level of respect that I can’t begin to explain but anyways I nourished, cultivated, and continue to work on that special relationship with students through out my time at Life Academy. My children were at times a little jealous when they heard other students call me Mom but in time they excepted it and I think having my Son who was popular (clown of the class), and my nephew at Life Academy from the beginning really helped me because they use to tell the kids not to mess around with me and needless to say they were big and respected. That is the reason I allow students to call me Venus instead of Ms. Mesui. I think I have had the most family members graduate from Life Academy: two children, ten nieces and nephews who came through Life Academy. But, only seven out of ten have graduated so far.”
Q: What have you learned by working at Life Academy?
A: “I can overcome being naïve.” Being at Life Academy she showed her culture and values of life. She hopes she can show her spirit of Aloha. She carries her values everywhere with her. She learned that people trust her and depend on her for everything.
Interview Edited By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher