Dayday's Story

 
Member profile: Margarita "Dayday" Hopkins
"How did I get here?"
Margarita's nickname is Dayday, which means "little one".  Her family last name is Leyson.  She was born into a prominent mestizo family (Spanish, Chinese, local mix) as the second of three girls in the city of Maasin, Philippines.  She grew up in a thatched nipa house cooking with a wood fire, taking cold showers, and using an outhouse.  
 
When her father past away when she was 15 years old, her mother and two sisters had to move to another city. Dayday stayed to finish high school and attend a Catholic college on a scholarship where she earned a bachelors degree in accounting.  She was a leader in ROTC.  Under martial law, student leaders were threatened as "communist".  Her mother urged her to move to Mindanao to live with her sister.   What a fateful move! 
 
Riding a dugout canoe to a meeting, she met a stunning Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to the same agency where her sister worked.  She married Kevin in a double wedding with her older sister.  Groom pays in the Philippines. 
After a couple years as a language instructor, Dayday and Kevin embarked on a series of moves to Auburn, Alabama where Kevin earned his master's degree and introduced farmed tilapia to the U.S., back to the Philippines to develop an integrated rice field and fish farm system, Kuwait for economic research and to teach the government to raise fish, back to the U.S. for graduate work at the Oregon State University, and finally landing at UH Hilo in 1988.  Along the way, the family grew with three children and eleven grandchildren. 
 
Dayday worked as an economist with the County for 23 years and also taught economics at UH Hilo.  She has served as a board member of the State's Agribusiness Development Corporation.  Although retiring in 2012, "retirement only means that it is time for a new adventure."