May 25, 2022
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month, North Central Missouri College spotlights student Hailey Lipai. Hailey’s nationality is Pacific Islander-Micronesia, and her hometown is Maysville, MO. Hailey recently completed her first year at NCMC and is taking courses to complete her AA Associate in Arts degree. After completing her associate’s at NCMC, Hailey plans to transfer and get her bachelor’s degree in social work or business management.
Hailey said about her heritage, “There are so many things I love about my culture, but what I love most about it is how welcoming everyone is to others. When you first meet a Pacific Islander, they are very quiet, but once you’re acquainted or friends, we are very outgoing people. My family has been my number one supporter since I was little. I grew up as an only child, but when I spent time with my cousins, they were the siblings I never had. One thing I’ve learned as I got older is that I have A LOT of cousins, including those I haven’t met yet. I meet new cousins every year, it’s like making new friends, but we are related.”
Hailey went on to say, “My favorite tradition is how we celebrate International Women’s Day. On the Islands, everyone gets together on Women’s Day and performs a dance telling a story of the women’s role back in the day, which was being a stay-at-home wife, to now where women are more independent. It is the same in the US, but they travel from across the country. I hope to visit the island someday and meet my relatives.”
When asked how she shares her culture with others, Hailey said, “Someone will ask me ‘hey, what’s your ethnicity?’ and I gladly share all about my heritage. I also hung up the Micronesia flag in my dorm room, giving me many opportunities to explain the national flag and the culture. My friends have learned a lot about my culture and heritage, which is great. My friends all support me and my ethnicity, and they think it’s really cool.” Hailey said, “NCMC opened my eyes to how supportive people can be. People at NCMC are open to other cultures, and it made me feel welcome and at home.”
At NCMC, Hailey is involved in Phi Mu, Student Support Services, First Gen Club, and Diversity and Inclusion committee and lived in the residence halls. Hailey chose NCMC because it was the smart financial choice for her and her family, and it wasn’t too far away from home. She also wanted more time to decide what career path she wanted to take by first getting her gen ed courses completed. Hailey said, “My favorite thing about NCMC is meeting new people. My roommate is actually from Maysville, but we never hung out, and now we are such great friends. There are a lot of nice and welcoming people, and there is a lot of support to help you succeed.”
Hailey’s favorite class has been Sociology online with Instructor Holland. “I enjoyed that class because I learned about different ways people celebrate culture,” said Hailey. “It caught my attention, and we did a lot of different assignments that discussed culture and society. The topic was fascinating to me.”
May celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritages (AAPI). This broad term encompasses Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, and most countries in Asia comprised of roughly 50 ethnic groups, speaking upwards of 100 languages from at least 40 different countries. https://asianpacificheritage.gov/about/
North Central Missouri College recognizes, uplifts, and amplifies the voices of AAPI students and celebrates their heritage. To learn more about NCMC’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, visit www.ncmissouri.edu/ or contact NCMC at 660-359-3948.