For Chestine Guevarra Toth, DMD, MS (’95), looking back on her high school experience brings back one memory in particular – or, specifically, one memory verse:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).
A different Bible verse was assigned to Hanalani Schools students every week to memorize and out of all the verses she learned, this one stayed with her past graduation. During hard times in her adult life, Chestine says that those words would come back to her mind and encourage her.
“There have been times where I was going through difficulties in my life. At one point, I had 15 months of deployment to Iraq. I was single and lonely. The verse from Romans especially helped me during those times,” says Chestine.
Rich in Blessings and Opportunities
While at Hanalani, Chestine benefitted from the individualized attention she received from teachers like Mr. Wayne Yoshino, Mrs. Camella Jones and Mr. Glenn Morisawa. Back then, Chestine says classes were small – hers had only 18 graduating seniors. But even then, Chestine’s life at Hanalani Schools was rich and full: she was a member of the National Honor Society, Yearbook Staff and the Student Body Council.
After graduation, she attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and earned her undergraduate degree in biology. She joined the U.S. Army, and went on in her education to acquire her master of science in Oral Biology from Augusta University, certificate in Periodontics from the U.S. Army and her doctorates from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
Giving Back and Giving Thanks
Recently transitioned from active duty to Army reserves, she now practices civilian dentistry. “I love being able to incorporate the use of my hands to heal and help other people,” says Chestine, who also uses her skills on medical missionary trips with her husband.
On one such trip to Honduras in 2006, Chestine provided dental healthcare to poor, underprivileged children. Reflecting on visits to her patients’ schools, she tearfully recalled, “It was definitely eye opening to see how privileged we are compared to these people, who are still so happy with what little they have.”
Royal Gems of Advice
To current Hanalani Schools students, she advises, “Being a teenage in high school means you’ll face lots of peer pressure. Although you’re surrounded by people who love God at Hanalani, be careful of external, worldly influences that can confuse you. Don’t be guided by what is cool or uncool – always steer a straight path to God.” Driven by a passion to serve others, Chestine is truly an alumna Hanalani Schools is proud to call their own.