I Turned My Academic Journey Around


Jason Tom opened for the 10th Kamehameha Schools Education Technology Conference: Disrupt!

I am an entertainer who advocates for education, because I've experienced first hand "invaluable" tools we can develop through education. In 2017, a struggling university math student contacted me online. I offered to math tutor and coach that female student on the "how to" turn her academic journey around.

She then flipped the script, and finished strong with multiple 4.0 grade point average (gpa) semesters.

In 2018, that student earned her bachelor of arts degree in Early Childhood Education.

My own reflection process on the life tools I've engineered to "dig deep," "persevere," "turn the tables," and "endure" through what I've accomplished in my academic adventure aided to the success in life, my academic coaching, and beatboxing.

When we go through a crossroad... it's important we keep a memory bank on our roots in the "how" we overcame adversity in order to move forward in life.

President William McKinley High School alumnus Jason Tom beatboxing on the Music With A Message Tour.

I am most grateful that I failed early and multiple times later in life! Yes! The failures taught me how to bounce back  discouragement and that developed my character.

I flunked the first grade at Kaimukī's Liholiho Elementary. My fondest memory at Liholiho Elementary was when our teacher played the classic video cassette of 1989's Moonwalker.

At that time, I was six-years-young, and I began my luxurious amateur beatboxing days by recording my "beatboxing" on audio cassettes. I performed my "inward k snare" with my tongue, and I scat sung the synthesizer of "Badder." "Badder" is the kid version of the Michael Jackson song "Bad" featured in Moonwalker's VHS. I still have all of the recordings of me "beatboxing" from 1989 through the 1990s.

Jason Tom beatboxing on the Music With A Message "Not On Tobacco" Tour at McKinley High School.


My second attempt at first grade took place at Liliha's Kauluwela Elementary. I then attended Nuʻuanu's Kawananakoa Middle School and Downtown Honolulu's President William McKinley High School. I was one of the 1.0 to 2.0 gpa students. I worked diligently to graduate from high school on time. I barely made it. I did not let up.

I attended summer school in Kailua's Kaleheo High School to make up missed high school credits.

A US mainland teacher snail mailed me my "correspondence" assignments for other missed credits, and I'd snail mailed those assignments back for it to be graded.

I lettered in varsity soccer and judo to encourage myself to maintain a 2.0 plus gpa. I peaked at two point something.

May 2001, I graduated from McKinley High School.

McKinley High School alumnus Jason Tom lettered in varsity soccer and judo.

Jason Tom is the McKinley High School boys soccer "Mr. Hustle" Award recipient in 2001.

As a first generation college student in my family household, I failed yet again in my academic journey my fall 2001 semester at the University of Hawaiʻi at Kapiʻolani Community College (KCC) when I got placed on academic probation. I earned a B, D, D, and F. Wow!

Spring 2002, I was placed on academic suspension when I earned my D for a 1 credit elective course.

My first two semesters of college, I earned not a single "A."

Discouraged, I took a college school break and I vowed not to return until I know I will be "serious" about college.

From 2002 to 2004, I trained and competed in local judo tournaments in Northern California and Hawaiʻi.

I left judo gradually after I used my judo to save my life when I was hit by a car while I walked the crosswalk on a green light near Shobukan Judo Club and Liliha Bakery in 2004. I would learn much later I would be unknowingly triggered multiple times from the "trauma" of that 2004 car impact.

Jason Tom 2000, 2001, 2002 judo medals, and ribbon; (2004 judo trophy not pictured)

Fall 2004, I came back to KCC, and I earned my first 4.0 gpa. My game plan was to not settle, and to put in the responsibility to earn A's.

I honed time management, punctuality, perfect attendance, reading ahead, note taking.

I avoided distractions like TV, procrastination, and I often started on my college assignments early, not late.

I also decided in 2004 to go into that transition from being an amateur beatboxer to turning into the pro beatboxer people have grown up watching live and on videos today.

My two D's, and one F in 2001? I retook the classes, and through due diligence, I redeemed them all with A's.

Summer 2006, I completed the Freeman Foundation Study Abroad Scholarship Intensive Mandarin Chinese program at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

In fall 2007, I earned my associates of arts degree in Liberal Arts at KCC.

Beijing Foreign Studies University


Jason Tom's associates of arts degree in Liberal Arts at KCC


Kauluwela Elementary gifts for Jason Tom performing at their Back to School Assembly!

 

Jason Tom beatboxing at Kapiʻolani Community College's Fall 2007 Talent Show with Tiny Tadani and George Higa.

 

Jason Tom - Kapiʻolani Community College Class of 2007 Alumni Profile!

 

Jason Tom Kapiʻolani Community College class of 2007 alumnus congratulated by KCC chancellor Leon Richards!


Freeman Foundation Scholarship - Jason Tom - Beijing Foreign Studies University!

Jason Tom's academic journey at Kapiʻolani Community College and beyond... 
Fall 2001: 3.0 gpa / 12 credits
*amateur beatboxer

Spring 2002: 1.0 gpa / 1 credit 
*amateur beatboxer; took a two-year college school break, moved in East Bay, Northern California while I got hired for clerical office work at a furniture warehouse, and I competed in judo tournaments before returning to Honolulu.

Fall 2004 - 4.0 gpa / 6 credits 
*professional beatboxer 

Spring 2005: 4.0 gpa / 11 credits 
*KCC Math Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader (Peer Mentor), Holomua Center math tutor, pro beatboxer 

Fall 2005: 3.75 gpa / 12 credits 
*Freeman Foundation Scholarship, Math SI Leader & math tutor, pro beatboxer 

Spring 2006: 4.0 gpa / 12 credits 
*Freeman Foundation Scholar, pro beatboxer, dormed at Tokai University 

Summer 2006: 4.0 gpa / 12 credits 
*Freeman Foundation Scholar, pro beatboxer, studied abroad at Beijing Foreign Studies University 

Fall 2006: 1.75 gpa/ 12 credits 
*Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Math SI Leader & math tutor, pro beatboxer 

Spring 2007: 2.0 gpa/ 6 credits 
*Math SI Leader & math tutor, TRIO Math notetaker, pro beatboxer 

Fall 2007: 4.0 gpa / 10 credits 
*Math SI Leader & math tutor, notetaker, pro beatboxer, enrolled in 3 credits at Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business (CEMB), & Honolulu Community College (HCC). . 

Spring 2008: 2.0 gpa/ 3 credits 
*KCC commencement, pro beatboxer, enrolled in 9 credits at CEMB, & HCC 

Fall 2008: not enrolled at KCC; enrolled in 3 credits at CEMB, & HCC, pro beatboxer 

Spring 2009 - 2.0 gpa/ 6 credits 
*pro beatboxer, enrolled in 3 credits at CEMB, and HCC


Jason Tom pictured on the Kapiʻolani Community College Fall 2007 Talent Show poster!


Kapiʻolani Community College Spring 2008 Commencement Ceremony!


Kapiʻolani Community College chancellor Leon Richards with KCC class of 2007 alumnus Jason Tom!

3 comments

  • Jon A
    Jon A Wahiawa
    Very uplifting and encounraging story ?

    Very uplifting and encounraging story ?

  • maka
    maka Japan
    MaHaLo Jason for sharing your kool stories!???You always awesome??‼️

    MaHaLo Jason for sharing your kool stories!???You always awesome??‼️

  • Gale
    Gale Oahu
    Your journey of perseverance is such an encouraging message for everyone. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. Jason, you didn’t give up and you worked hard. Now go and enjoy your fruits of your labor.

    Your journey of perseverance is such an encouraging message for everyone. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up”. Jason, you didn’t give up and you worked hard. Now go and enjoy your fruits of your labor.

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