The Spirit of Aloha – Sponsor Spotlight: William Turner

A special thanks to William Turner for taking the time to answer this questionnaire and share a little bit about his life and the Rotary Club of Downtown Honolulu’s project.

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now and how did you get here?

I was born in LaGrange, Illinois but grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (Kindergarten – Grade 12). I currently live in Honolulu, Hawaii. I moved to Honolulu after I graduated from college in 1993.

2. What aspects of your hometown have shaped you into the person you are today or left a lasting impression?

Lancaster, in particular the farming community, strengthened my appreciation of a strong work ethic. Hawaii has shaped my appreciation and respect of different cultures. I am blessed to live in a community that is filled with the spirit of Aloha and well-being.

3. What were you like as a student? Does this have any bearing on how you view education or why you started the project?

I was an average student. My favorite classes were history and the humanities. Math and the sciences were a bit (an understatement) of a challenge.I was fortunate to attend an excellent and challenging public school. I understand that some of the students who receive the dictionaries may not have the resources to obtain one on their own. The Dictionary Project provides a great way to give back community – education in particular.

4. How did you hear about The Dictionary Project?

I first heard of The Dictionary Project as a member of Downtown Rotary Club of Honolulu.

5. What motivates you to continue The Dictionary Project?

Each class received the dictionaries with enthusiasm and appreciation. I recently spoke with one of the teachers whose class received dictionaries last year. She indicated some of the students proudly told her how they use the dictionary to learn the proper pronunciation of words. Also – to hear students took the initiative to strengthen their understanding of how to use the dictionaries after our brief presentation was rewarding.

6. What obstacles have you faced when implementing your project and how did you overcome them?

Coordinating drop-offs could be challenging s with the schools’ busy schedules but it was minimal.Our club kept the drop-offs brief, informative, and most important – fun!

7. Where would you like to see your project next year, over 5 years, etc.? Do you have any long-term goals for the project?

Rotary does a good job of covering as many schools as possible. If schools are overlooked, members reach out to the schools. We added a few more schools (downtown Honolulu area) last year.

8. From your life experience, what advice would you give a grade school student?

Always keep your spark for learning alive – it is plays a valuable role in having healthy mind and spirit. (For older students: it is absolutely necessary in the professional world.)

9. Favorite book:

Non-Fiction: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand – a truly inspiring story.

Fiction: The Shining by Stephen King – taught me that a book could be much scarier\unsettling than a movie.

10. Favorite Quote:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
William Shakespeare, Hamlet

“Don’t Panic.” – Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy