It was Mme Clementi, her first French teacher during her senior year in high school. She demanded, “the accent aigu goes this way, not that way!” In some mysterious way, she inspired Terrina and the French language and all things French soon consumed her young life.
It’s been a personal and professional passion and commitment ever since. A junior year abroad in Tours and in Paris with homestays and learning at the Institut de Touraine and the Sorbonne, acquiring first-hand cultural and learning experiences that transformed her life and worldviews forever. She acquired a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from Mills College and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Hawaii.
Her year abroad inspired her to become a global educator working in the independent school sector in Hawaii for 35 years. Her work was dedicated to creating educational programs that promoted cross-cultural experiences and understanding global priorities for students and teachers. These international programs focused on the importance of examining through multiple perspectives and understanding through the hearts, eyes and minds of others.
She is now “living” what she was teaching working with the foreign-born in Hawaii; that is, creating and implementing social justice initiatives for immigrants, refugees, human trafficking victims and the vulnerable towards self-sufficiency and to ensure they have access to justice. She is accredited and authorized by the Department of Justice to provide legal immigration services as a non-attorney to the indigent population. Her work has enabled her to help immigrants to Hawaii from Francophone countries.
She has been an active and proud member of the Alliance française of Hawaii since 1984 and a member of the Board for close to 35 years and Regent for the past 2.5 years. She served for many years as the French corresponding Secretary for the AFH Board and has served on committees to organize fundraising and cultural events, Immersion Days, AFH education and scholarship. She was awarded Small Business Administration 2014 Home-Based Business Champion, State of Hawaii, for her work with small entrepreneurs and the 2016 Spark of Hope Award of the Interfaith Alliance of Hawaii for inspiring work in the community with the disenfranchised.
She's intentional about her ongoing learning of French. She's an avid reader of France-Amérique, fascinated especially at the translations, and reads, writes, listens and tries to speak French each day thanks to her many AFH friends!