HANAPEPE — Dan Abadilla and Susana Valencia-Abadilla were proud but disappointed at the same time during a meeting at Salt Pond Beach Park.
“Natasha is the newest doctor,” Susana said. “She’s graduating from Stanford. But the graduation is virtual, so we’re not going. We’ll celebrate at home.”
Abadilla, an alumnus of St. Theresa School and Waimea High School, graduated from the Stanford School of Medicine on June 12.
“I’m staying in the Bay Area for residency,” Abadilla wrote in an email. “I’ll be doing five years of child neurology residency with Stanford Children’s, which includes getting nationally boarded in both general pediatrics and child neurology.”
“Medical school was a long process. But looking back, I’ve learned so much, including learning how valuable my experiences growing up on a small island were in terms of relating to patients who come from small towns or communities.”
“Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to run into someone from Kaua‘i here in the Bay Area. Sometimes, I’m even luckier, and that Kaua‘i local is also in medicine. If you remember Elisabeth Young (Kaua‘i High School Class of 2009), who ran against me in high school for both cross country and track, she is in her final year of pediatrics residency just 30 minutes away at the University of California San Francisco.”
“Looking forward, I really hope to make my small hometown of Kekaha really proud.”
“No matter how long it’s been since I’ve been back to Kaua‘i, I always miss home so much, and hope to someday make it back to Hawai‘i to serve the community that raised me.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.