Lena Asano Lee
Class of 1997
By Zena Heu
Lena (Asano) Lee owns a small business called Amai Farms, where she raises orchids and ornamental fish. She purchased the orchid farm from her uncle in 2004. She set up her aquaculture farm this past summer through a grant from the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii (EDAH), U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, and Sea Grant Pacific Tropical Ornamental Fish Program (PTOFP). Three Waiäkea High students and one alumnus of agriculture teacher, Gerod Victorine, helped her to set up and run her farm. Two of the students, Sheydon Hatayama and Andrew Wong, wrote for a mini grant of their own and she is helping them set up a mini-business in aquaculture.
Lena graduated from Waiäkea High School in 1997. She especially remembers her teachers because “they genuinely cared about their students.” While in high school, she wanted to study marine biology, but later learned that there were few jobs available in that field. She attended UH Manoa on a USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture) scholarship, which required research. She majored in animal science, with a focus on aquaculture in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). She also did aquaculture research work in Japan for a year through a Rotary Ambassadorial scholarship.
She loves serving God, being with her family, spending time outdoors, seeing her dendrobium orchids grow, and raising ornamental (aquarium) fish, which she sells to wholesalers and retailers. She enjoys helping other people and likes the challenge and flexibility that her job allows her.