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Choose 'to maintain a positive attitude,' 167 graduates told

LAIE, Hawaii — Offering encouraging words for the future, Primary General President Coleen K. Menlove addressed 167 graduates at BYU-Hawaii's commencement ceremonies held in the Cannon Activity Center here Dec. 16.

"Perhaps it isn't the amount of stress or lack of it that determines whether we have our best day every day, but it is actually a choice we make to maintain a positive attitude regardless of our circumstances," Sister Menlove said, after outlining several principles that will enable graduates to make every day the best day of their lives.

BYU-Hawaii graduates were also addressed by valedictorian Patrick Juim Kiat Lim of Singapore.

"Before I learned about Christ, I hated school," he said. "I am what they called back home a 'CD player' — because all I got for grades were C's and D's."

Today, he continued, he is benefitting from what he learned after joining the Church. "The greatest benefit that I've gained is not secular knowledge, but spiritual knowledge," he said.

He invited fellow graduates to take a moment to honor their parents. "They are the champions in your life, they deserve your greatest honor, respect and love." He then invited his parents to stand while he spoke words of gratitude and love in his native language to honor them.

BYU-Hawaii commencement was also an opportunity for university officials to present the Distinguished Service Award to Genoa Leilani Adolpho Keawe-Aiko. Sister Keawe began her musical training with participation in the Laie LDS Church choir. Many of her songs, recorded from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, became mainstays of the Hawaiian music repertoire.

She started her own record company in 1966 and operated a hula studio for many years. She has been a resource for scores of Hawaiian musicians throughout a career that has spanned more than 50 years. In September, she was given a National Endowment of the Arts and Culture Award.