Extraordinary Entrepreneur Christopher Wu (’07) Goes From Diamonds to Dentistry

When Christopher Wu (’07) looks back on his time at Hanalani Schools, he fondly recalls the engaging class field trips and hanging out with friends – but it wasn’t all just fun and games for him. His mother worked 12 hours a day to support him and his older brother through school, and he took over the family diamond business during his junior and senior years at Hanalani.
Forged by Faith
“Many people don’t know this, but I had to skip days throughout high school to participate at jewelry product shows and help support my mother and brother after my parents separated,” says Christopher.
Many business people didn’t take him seriously because of his young age. “I remember walking into a CPA’s office when I was 16 and the CPA tried to scare me out of forming my own company by showing me the behemoth tax code book,” says Christopher. During these times, the Bible verse from Psalm 118:6 (New King James Version) gave him courage: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
Not only did he succeeded in forming his own company, Christopher also did the taxes himself for the first few years.
Gratitude for Guidance
Despite juggling work and his school load, Christopher excelled academically at Hanalani. He was a member of the Hanalani Honors Society, and participated on the chess team, played the trumpet in band, took summer economic classes at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and competed in the science bowl. “My older brother Vincent (’04), currently a general surgeon resident at the University of Iowa,  encouraged me to participate in extracurricular activities to be more competitive for college as well as to grow into a well-rounded individual,” says Christopher.
His teachers at Hanalani had a big influence on his character and personality. In particular, he is grateful to his fourth grade teacher Mrs. Christine Sprout, math teacher Mr. Chen Fu Chiang, physics teacher Dr. Steve Elliot, AP History teacher Miss Julianne Stoker, AP English teacher Mrs. Joanna Baniaga and AP Chemistry teacher Mrs. Carmela Minaya for their support and guidance through his somewhat non-traditional school years.
“What made these teachers great was not only their excellence in teaching, but how they fostered a caring attitude and shared their life experiences with their students. I carry pieces of what I learned from each of them with me today,” says Christopher.
Polishing Many Facets
After high school, Christopher attended the University of California Davis for a year on scholarship and then finished his undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Hawai‘i. But the hard work didn’t stop with his newly conferred degree. Christopher also got his real estate license, earned a Graduate Diamonds degree from the Gemological Institute of America, volunteered at the Queen’s Medical Center’s Dental Clinic and is now attending Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston to pursue his dream of becoming a dentist.
Through it all, he grew and diversified the family business while simultaneously taking finance classes from Harvard University. Christopher is currently engaged to fellow Royal Nadiene Oh  (’08), who is in the class of 2020 at UMKC Dental School in Kansas City, and will be graduating next year from Tufts.  After graduation, he plans to find work or apply into a dental specialty program.
Challenge Accepted
He credits his strong work ethic to his parents. “My family were refugees of the Vietnam War and relied on U.S. military aid and sponsors. My parents ingrained in my brother and me the importance of having a strong work ethic, helping others and paying it forward to those less fortunate,” says Christopher.
No stranger to personal sacrifice, this Royal personifies the school’s motto of “Love God. Love Others. Challenge Yourself.”