Joy (Calilao) Buchanan left Lanai in 2013 to attend Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. She selected the school because of its affiliation with the Assemblies of God Christian denomination and its graphic design program.
After meeting some elementary education students and trying teaching practicums, she decided to switch her major to education. She also credits her switch to her fond memories interacting with keiki as part of the Kings Chapel Children’s Ministry and with the Boys & Girls Club.
Joy stayed in Missouri and is now in her second year as a kindergarten teacher. She kickstarted her teaching career during the pandemic and had to adapt to virtual teaching — a challenging feat with a class of little ones. However, seeing the growth of her students keeps her motivated even in the most unusual of times.
She adapted well to life in Missouri and got married to Josh Buchanan in 2018. She feels fortunate to have made lifelong friends and enjoys experiencing all four distinctive seasons. When it’s not too snowy, she explores hiking trails, tries different local cuisine and visits the neighboring state of Arkansas. She also uses her Cricut to make crafts for her students and classroom.
Although it’s a long plane ride home, she tries to visit her parents, Edmund and Corazon, and sister, Micah, on Lanai at least once a year. When she returns, Joy spends as much time as possible at the beach and wanders around her old stomping grounds and places she used to work including the Local Gentry, Lanai Youth Center, and Mimi’s Salon.
Her advice to the next generation? “Don’t be afraid to go out, experience life alone, and see what’s out there. There’s so much to explore, but don’t forget where you came from.”
“Where are they now?” features alumni from Lanai High and Elementary School to see what they’ve been up to since graduation.