College was never within the scope of Konrad Talon’s (AOHT ’05) future plans during his early years at Maui High School. He didn’t know the difference between public and private universities or associate's and bachelor’s degrees. His parents who lived paycheck to paycheck, never talked about college, and Konrad couldn’t even imagine what tuition would cost.
It was when Konrad took a hospitality class as an elective and was exposed to various businesses in the hospitality industry through job shadowing, internships and site visits, that the idea of college started to become a reality.
While in the AOHT, Konrad interned at the Maui Prince Hotel and upon graduation enrolled at the University of Hawaii Maui College. He received an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts, becoming the first member in his immediate family to ever pursue post-secondary education.
He then transferred to the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Travel Industry Management where he graduated with a bachelor of sciences. Because of Konrad’s success, his parents are encouraging his siblings to attend college.
“I tell my brothers that going to college is a privilege,” said Konrad.
Konrad is a rooms controller at the new Waikiki Edition Hotel, where he serves as an administrator to the front desk and deals with reservations and customer service. He works with people in every department while learning about all aspects of the hotel.
Konrad serves on the Advisory Board for the AOHT, and speaks regularly to academy students. He was also a NAF alumni honoree at the Institute for Staff Development in Philadelphia in 2010.
On January 21, County Councilman Mike Victorino of Maui, Hawaii, introduced a resolution honoring Konrad’s many accomplishments.
Konrad feels lucky to get to live in Hawaii, where tourism is the state's number one industry and where people spend a lot of money to come visit. Working in the hospitality industry has taught him the value of a dollar.
“I sacrificed my personal life to get through college while working,” he said. “I know it might sound crazy, but I love my job. The AOHT program definitely changed the course of my future for the better.”