Page 5 - MidWeek Kauai - Dec 8, 2021
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   Choy’s Sunny Disposition A Ray Of Light
DECEMBER 8, 2021 KAUA‘I MIDWEEK 5 Hawaiian
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   males. The ʻEwa Beach native (who explains where she lives in a very Hawaiʻi fashion by describing what local-kine landmarks are near her house) lives a life of service, wheth- er she’s volunteering for a local organization (Hawaiʻi Literacy, Women’s Fund of Hawaiʻi, YWCA O‘ahu and Special Olympics Hawaiʻi, to name a few), mentoring young girls, or, in recent years, hard at work studying to become an attorney who will one day represent women in the courtroom.
high school, but you have social media pressure, the pressure to fit in and be liked by everybody, and to be that ‘popular’ student — which I was not — but I worked real- ly hard. I was commuting on a bus, waking up at 5 a.m. in ʻEwa, and not getting home until after 5 or 6 p.m. some days because of traffic. There were so many pressures — ac- ademics, socially, financially, commuting, fitting in.
hou, undergrad college at UH and law school; to really hone into that message, even on the days that I felt so low and not up to the challenge, and to remember it’s not about me or the things that I’ m doing, but what I can do for other people.”
     Choy credits her supportive parents for her grit and selfless attitude, as well as the place that she’ll soon represent on a national stage — a place that she loves so deeply.
Gold Bangles
           “What helped me at Puna- hou was finding service — finding volunteer opportuni- ties. I ended up being a part of a program called Luke Leaders and also Interact Club — basically, any club that re- volved around service.
“Here, you think about peo- ple before yourself,” she says. “Hawaiʻi’s culture really helps you remember to treat other people with so much kindness and respect that we don’t al- ways see today or sometimes in the continental mainland. I think the more you expand your world and meet other people shapes your perspec- tive and you recognize, like, ‘Hey, I’ve been given such a great opportunity, it would be such a waste and so selfish of me to save it for myself.’ I think we’re all here for a purpose to find that. I didn’t know that at Punahou. I was very sad a lot of the time. I wasn’t patient with who I was. I wanted to fit in so badly and I would cry some nights just thinking about what’s wrong with me or why don’t people like me. That informed me to really know now that I never want anyone to feel that way.”
Silver Bangles
    Although today, Choy possesses attributes such as grace, benevolence and self-certainty effortlessly, it wasn’t always so natural for her. As a student at ʻAiea’s St. Elizabeth School and later Punahou School, she’s quick to describe herself as “quiet and shy” and one who “never used my voice.”
“When I took myself out of the equation of feeling sorry for myself or feeling like I didn’t belong, I turned my at- tention outward to other peo- ple and I felt so much better because I knew the privilege of the education that I was receiving — it has to go to other people. At the time, our Punahou president would say, ‘to how much is given is as much is expected,’ and that re- ally carried me through Puna-
It was an intentional choice of Choy’s to attend a Hawai‘i-based college and law school. With her degree, she hopes to better the state and offer support for the community that raised her. Here, she’s pictured at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for a leadership summit. PHOTO COURTESY COURTNEY CHOY
                         “Punahou was difficult. I was plucked from a class of 21 students (at St. Elizabeth’s) into a class of 460-plus stu- dents,” Choy explains. “It was challenging. I think those were some of the hardest days of my life because it’s not just
more about where to watch/ stream the program at missa- She’s currently two-for-two, after winning Miss Chinatown in 2019 and Miss Hawaiʻi earlier this year. As far as preparation goes, she says she puts her energy into introspection.
old, who spends her free time hanging out with her dogs, Chibi and Koa, at the beach (Nimitz is her favorite), chow- ing down on some junk food (“I just love pizza”), chatting about life’s ebbs and flows with her nearest and dearest, or shopping till she drops.
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“I didn’t diet; I didn’t do anything special. I just wanted to be up there and be myself, like, ‘This is who I am. This is Courtney.’
Now that Choy proud- ly stands on a platform she once looked up to, she offers words of encouragement for young girls who were once in her shoes.
                  You’d never know that Choy, who beams a sunny dis- position even when speaking about turbulent times in her past, once felt like an outcast. But, as they say, there are no rainbows without any rain.
“Nerves aside, I am just so honored and privileged to rep- resent my state and my home. I’m a product of this place — born and raised and educated here — and that’s what I want people to realize. There are so many opportunities in our state to really develop the best version of yourself. That’s who I want to bring to Miss America.”
“Be proud of who you are and the person that you’re be- coming. The experiences that we have, whether it’s positive or negative, help us to grow and learn more about our- selves. I didn’t always know that growing up. I would think of things as happening to me and not happening for me. Just be kind, serve your communi- ty and believe in yourself. You have everything you need in yourself to succeed and be the best person that you are.”
           With little to no sleep following her Miss Hawai‘i win, Courtney Choy graduated with high honors from University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law the next morning. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I
Choy will surely keep that mindset as she vies for the Miss America title (learn
Outside of her lavish pag- eant lifestyle and attorney aspirations, Choy is just your average 20-something-year-
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