Red Andrei Gonzales - Green Card Voices

Red Andrei Gonzales

Occupation: Student

Country of Birth: Phillipines

Current: O’ahu, Hawai’i

“Don’t be scared to go out of your comfort zone because staying in your comfort zone won’t help you grow.”

Red Andrei was born in the city of Olongapo, Zambales in the Philippines. He was raised for six years in Batangas City and two years in Manila before moving back to Olongapo. Although he often moved between cities, Red’s childhood consisted of many fun-filled and happy memories with his many friends and cousins in his barangay (barrio).

Red’s mother moved to Hawai‘i in 2019 when Red was eleven years old. As a result, he and his sister were raised and cared for by his nanay (aunt), papi (grandmother), and lolo (grandfather). 

While playing basketball outside, Red’s aunt received a call from his mother who informed them that they will be moving to Hawai‘i. Immediately, Red was shocked and concerned about the COVID-19 testing, moving away from his family and friends, and having to communicate in English. Red’s concern grew when the COVID-19 test for his sister came back an error leaving him to travel to Hawai‘i alone. Leaving the place and people he knew and traveling alone are some of the challenges that Red had to face. 

When Red arrived in Hawai‘i on September 10, 2021, he was greeted by his excited mother at the airport. Red noticed the beauty of Hawai‘i and how high-tech everything was. Before his first day at a new school, Red struggled to communicate in English. However, he was shocked to see the big community of Tagalog speakers. He was amazed and felt welcomed. Through his native language, he was able to create friendships and learn English.

Currently, Red is a junior at Waipahu High School where he studies culinary arts but is also a part of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program. Post-high school, he plans to join the military to contribute to the community while encouraging others to do the same. In his free time, Red continues to play basketball with his new group of friends.