Winchester High School graduate Summer Holcomb Rothwell has always been about the pursuit of happiness, even if it took non-traditional ways to get there. After graduating from WHS in 2002, Summer went halfway around the world to get her undergraduate degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Before focusing on her family and her two sons, Summer worked in business and fashion. When Summer decided to go back to work, she knew that it had to be something she was passionate about and not just tolerated as many folks do. Starting from scratch, Summer started her own business as a yoga instructor Yoga Under the Palms and is loving every minute of it.
If you are heading to Oahu, feel free to reach out to Summer with questions about the island or her business Yoga Under the Palms. Check out yogaunderthepalms.com or you can message her through Instagram @yogaunderthepalms.
What are you doing now? Where are you currently living?
I own Yoga Under the Palms, a beach yoga company. I live in Honolulu, HI.
What connection, if any, do you still have to WHS or the community?
I do not make it back to Winchester often but I have casually stayed in touch with my high school friends.
Was there a favorite moment, person or experience at WHS that you remember that has helped you find your passions or reach your goals?
I had a great group of friends at WHS who have always supported me in whatever I wanted to do. They knew I wanted something different, even in high school and have always supported that.
What was the path you took to get where you are today?
I graduated from WHS in 2002 and moved to Honolulu to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I graduated in 2008 with a BS in Fashion Design and Merchandising. I had a successful career working for a variety of Hawaii-based businesses before making the decision to take some time off after my second son was born.
I completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training in August 2018 and immediately knew that teaching yoga was what I wanted to do full time. I started Yoga Under the Palms which is a beach yoga “studio” in Honolulu. I created a website and marketing plan targeting the visitor industry in Hawaii and the whole thing took off quickly. I also started Open Minded Yoga which is a non-profit organization providing yoga classes for children with and without special needs in an inclusive setting. Part of the proceeds from Yoga Under the Palms go to fund this organization. I hope to open an actual studio in the future.
Please share a success since leaving WHS.
My biggest success has been finding professional happiness. Prior to teaching yoga, I thought that as long as I didn’t hate my job, that was enough. Almost like a sacrifice for getting to live in Hawaii. Leaving a traditional, corporate job to build a business from scratch has brought me so much pride and I enjoy going to work everyday.
Is there insight or advice you can share with current students?
Try as many different experiences as you can and follow whichever one makes you the most happy even if it is not a traditional career goal. It is also ok not to not know what you want to do and it is ok to change your mind. A lot of times the fear of starting over will prevent you from pursuing something that could make you really happy. Do not be afraid to start something new, no matter how far you have journeyed down one path.
Summer (Holcomb) Rothwell is one of hundreds of WHS Alumni who can be found through the Winchester Alumni Association. Join us by activating your profile today at WinchesterAlumni.org