Lorelle Ann Solanzo Peros is a very busy individual wearing many hats. She is a UHMC (University of Hawai‘i-Maui College) instructor, a wife, and a mother of two boys.
She was born Lorelle Ann Solanzo on April 1, 1970 to Loreto and Cion Solanzo of Lahaina. She is married to Jay Peros. They have two sons, Jeremy (14), an 8th grader, and Jarred (11) a 6th grader. Both boys attend Maui Waena Intermediate School.
Lorelle’s father, Loreto was from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. He came to Hawai‘i in 1946 as one of the thousands of Sakadas in his early twenties and worked at Pioneer Mill Company when he arrived. He worked there for 36 years. His first job at Pioneer Mill was to irrigate the sugar cane fields. He also transported workers to the fields at the beginning and end of the work day. He became a truck driver later. He came to Hawai‘i in search for a better life. As the eldest in the family, he came to Hawai‘i so that he could also help support his family in the Philippines. According to Lorelle, her dad went back to the Philippines for a vacation and married her mother, Cion in 1957. Because of her teaching career, Cion opted to stay back in the Philippines for a short while but followed Loreto to Hawai‘i in 1963. “Growing up, my parents always imparted on us the value of education” said Lorelle. “They worked hard and always wanted the best for us. My parents instilled in us from a very young age the importance and value of education. My sisters, Janet, Lorna, and I were always reminded to work hard and do our best no matter what. My first and best teachers are my parents.”
Lorelle was born on Maui and grew up in Lahaina. Her parents lived in Pu‘ukoli‘i Camp and then moved to Kelawea Mauka in 1971. Her oldest sister, Janet and middle sister Lorna have memories of living in Pu‘ukoli‘i but Lorelle was just a baby when her family moved from Pu‘ukoli‘i Camp.
Lorelle attended Kamehameha III School, Lahaina Intermediate, and Lahainaluna High School where she graduated as class valedictorian. After high school, she attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Travel Industry Management and a minor in Speech. During her junior year in college, she went to Northern Arizona University as an exchange student. She was the only one at U.H. who went to NAU that year. The others had gone to California and schools in the East Coast for the exchange program. She earned a Master in Business Administration Degree at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California in 1998. While she was in graduate school, she had the opportunity to travel to Chile for an international business class.
Loreto Solanzo, Lorelle’s Dad passed away when Lorelle was only 12 years old. Her sisters were 16 and 18 years old. Her mom, Cion was faced with a challenge how to support her three daughters’ schooling. Lorelle was in high school, and Janet just started her first year in college. However, with the grace of God, Cion was able to support her daughters. All three received their college degrees.
Upon graduating from U.H. Mänoa, Lorelle was a Rooms Division Management trainee at the Grand Hyatt Wailea. When the hotel transitioned to become an independent property, (Grand Wailea), she stayed and worked in the Housekeeping Department in various management positions. She left to continue her education at the University of the Pacific and upon graduation, she moved to the Big Island and was hired as an instructor for the Hotel Operations Program. She taught hotel and business classes at Hawai‘i Community College. She returned home to Maui after a year and worked at Kapalua Bay Hotel managing the front office, bell and concierge department. She also worked as a lecturer at U.H. Maui College (formerly Maui Community College) and taught various business and hotel courses. She was hired full time at UHMC in 2001. She is currently an Associate Professor and Hospitality and Tourism Program Coordinator at UHMC. “Over the years,” said Lorelle, “I have been privileged to be surrounded by many wonderful colleagues who have taught me important lessons for the classroom and life in general.”
Lorelle received the U.H. Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007 and the Francis Davis Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006.
In 2009, Lorelle had her first trip to the Philippines with UHMC faculty members Debbie Nakama, Cyrilla Pascual, and community leader/Kabalikat Advisory Council Chair, Erlinda Rosario. The intent of the trip was to secure Memorandums of Intent/Agreement with higher education institutions in the Philippines such as Mapua Institute of Technology and Mariano Marcos State University. They returned there in 2012. Memorandums of Intent focused on the areas of student, faculty, and academic exchanges. Lorelle also had the opportunity to teach abroad and taught at Shanghai Normal University (SHNU) in 2010.
Lorelle is currently Co-chair for the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Anthony Church, and was previously part of School Community Council (SCC) for Pömaika‘i Elementary School. At UHMC, Lorelle is co-chair for the Curriculum Committee, advisor for Hui Ho‘okipa Club, member for system-wide committee for Student Equity Excellence and Diversity (SEED), and member of International Education Committee.
Jeremy and Jarred, Jay’s and Lorelle’s sons are actively involved in sports/school activities. Even with their busy schedule, Jay and Lorelle always attend and support the boys at baseball and basketball games as well as concert practice and performances.
“I truly believe that students excel as learners when they become active participants in their educational journey,” said Lorelle. “Some of my students come to college knowing exactly what career path to pursue while others are exploring options in the hospitality industry. When guiding students in their educational journey, I believe that making connections in and outside the classroom is key. Learning doesn’t stop once the class period is over.” Lorelle also mentioned that she always shares the following quotation from Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
“Education is one of those priceless ‘dots’,” says Lorelle. “Every experience is a learning experience, which will somehow connect to their future.”