Q&A: Roosevelt safety Marcus Hee

Roosevelt safety Marcus Hee has helped the Rough Riders go 12-1, win an OIA championship and win a state tournament game to get to Saturday's semifinal at Lahainaluna. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

He is Hee.

Marcus Hee grew up loving football and making a plan for success around football. As of mid-November, 2018, the Roosevelt senior safety/linebacker has made many of those dreams come true, and the season is not over yet for the OIA Division II champions.

With Roosevelt (12-1) preparing for two-time defending state champion Lahainaluna this week, Hee is locked in. He chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Sunday about mom’s home cooking, early-morning workouts and another dream: to become a financial planner.

“Since he was a baby, he’s been so self-driven,” said Hee’s mother, Luana Alapa. “On his dream board, he listed everything he was going to be.”

In fact, Hee gravitated to constant improvement. Besides the dream board, he would listen to motivational tapes in the car as he rode with mom. With college around the corner, he is still searching for the right place where he can contribute on the football field and earn a degree.

“He’s very well-prepared for all the scenarios,” Alapa said. “He knows he’s there not just to play, but for his education.”

Hee was the prep feature in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which you can read here.

Marcus Hee
Roosevelt football

Q&A / Favorites
Athlete: Kobe Bryant. Hands down. He instilled that “Mamba” mentality in me. II watched him working out in the gym, shooting 1,000 free throws. ’m not a basketball player, but I applied what he does to football. In the offseason, I wake up at 5 a.m., work out, eat breakfast, then I’ll work out again. Then practice, go home and study film.

Team: Los Angeles Lakers. I’ve been a Lakers game my whole life. I love them to death. I knew we were going to struggle. I knew it would be a rebuilding process.

Food at home: It’s got to be my mom’s steak. She makes that for me three, actually four times a week. Rib eye, well done.

Food eating out: Sushi Man in Makiki. Every single week, on Sundays as treat to myself, I get the crunch don or the dynamite maki. The crunch don has spicy ahi on top with shrimp tempura underneath on top of rice.

Hobby: Bodyboarding and surfing. I grew up at Sandy Beach. I’ve been there every summer bodyboarding. It’s a time to relax and forget all my problems. That’s got to be my second home.

Movie: Forrest Gump. I’ve seen it about 100 times. I know almost every single line in that movie. The best thing about it is I learned the best things come to people who are patient and kind to everyone. Everyone always hated on Forrest because he was different, but in the end, you see how he became successful.

TV show: Naruto. Everyone looked down upon him, and later on he became the nation’s hero. I look up to those kinds of stories as inspiration for my own life.

Video game; Madden. I have too many memories. I have Madden back to 2010. If one of my siblings are home or one of my friends come to my home, it’s nonstop yelling. I usually take the Raiders or Jacksonville Jaguars, but not this year.

Teacher: Miss Smith, or now Mrs. (Candace) Kinoshita at Stevenson Middle School. She was my seventh and eighth grade teacher. She taught me math. I was always a terrible student with math, but what she taught me, I’ve overcome that struggle. Every single day, I’d come to Mrs. Kinoshita’s class during recess and after school for tutoring. I really had to work hard. There’s some days I’d cry in her arms because I would not understand anything and I’d feel like a failure. She really opened up my eyes. She made me push for that extra mile. I’m just forever grateful for her because I still hold her true to my heart to this day.

GPA: 3.57. Hopefully it goes up to a 3.6 this year. I’m taking two AP classes. AP English and AP Economics. People like to slack off in senior year, but I’m going 100 percent foot on the gas pedal. Roosevelt is a special place. The teachers here are amazing. They want to see their students to succeed. They genuinely love their students and want them go further in life. We have “Rider Time” after school where students go in to get better (grades).

Scripture: Jer. 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future, not to harm you.
I always write that on my wrist every game. I always live by that.

What mom (Luana Alapa) says that I can’t forget: Be kind and loving to every single person. You never know what every person is going through in their life.

What dad (Mark Hee) says that I can’t forget: Always have faith. He showed me Christianity and the way to God. He always told me to have faith in everything I do. If there’s no faith, what’s the point of doing it. Faith really shows in down times in my life. I’ve been bullied. I’ve been teased. I’ve been made fun of many times on social media. To have faith, knowing it’s going to get better, knowing my faith in God and myself.

What my coaches say: From Coach Kui (Kahooilihala), he says after every practice, if no one has anything to say, he says, ‘All right, let’s get the hell outta here.”

After busting your butt in the classroom and on the field, it’s just time to get the hell outta here.

How does football affect your life in and out of season?
I had a free period at 11 a.m., so I chose weight training. I’m working my butt off to bench 285. My goal by the end of this year is to bench 315. I was teased my freshman year for benching only quarters. They said, ‘That’s all you can do?’ That really hurt me. The person that said it said it in front of all the seniors that were around and I got kind of embarrassed. I said I’m going to show you one day. I’m going to be benching 315 my senior year.

What middle and elementary schools did you attend?
Stevenson Middle, Lincoln Elementary, and before that Hongwanjji Mission School.

Have you traveled for sports?
Yes, I was on the Pylon team, High Elite. We traveled to Las Vegas last summer for the tournament. We placed Top 40 in the nation. People from all over the island. We all came together as one and to this day, we’re still family.

What are you good at that might surprise people?
I wouldn’t say I’m the best, but probably hula. I started dancing hula at Saint Louis. Kumu Puchalski there taught me everything that I know about hula. He started to get me accustomed to my culture. I didn’t take Hawaiian as a language, so I took hula. It was pretty cool, so I decided I’m going to stick with it. When I transferred here (to Roosevelt), I met Kumu Dutro and he became like another father figure to me. I learned Hawaiian. I learned my culture. I learned what each dance meant to my people. I learned when it was outlawed and they kept the culture alive. I’m just thankful for finding this thing called hula. If not for that, I’d just be playing video games.

Ultimate dream/bucket list
First one would be Italy. I’m Italian. It would probably be Sicily. That’s where the culture is very tight and it would be like coming home. The second place I’d go to is Dubai. That city is amazing. They have the craziest things and it’s very beautiful. So diverse and how advanced they are with technology, it just shocks me. To experience that would be a dream.

Japan. Everywhere in Japan. My friends and family always tell me how wonderful the culture is and how much fun you can have in a big country. I’ve never been there before, but I would have the time of my life.

What is the history of your name?
(Turns to mom). “Marcus means ‘strong warrior,” Alapa said.

My middle name is Kaniaulono. My grandmother (Kauana Pukahi) named me that. Lono is the god of peace, the time to rest during the time period of makahiki. The name means that’s when Lono came back to start the makahiki games, to start everything during that time of peace.

I’ve applied to some colleges. I’m a qualifier for the NCAA and NAIA. I’m going to apply to the University of San Diego and the University of Montana. Those are the schools that are recruiting me right now.

I want to major in the business field. Probably a financial advisor or an investor. My backup plan is to become a lawyer. I love debating with people. I love debates. I love arguing with people.

I want to shoutout my family for just always sticking with me from when I was a little kid to where I am now. Without them, I wouldn’t be anything. And shoutout anyone who’s been a friend to me, or been nice to me and seen me as a companion. Having them in my life is something I can always say I’m blessed with. I want to shout out my coaches, my mentors and my teachers for always being there for me.Showing me the right way in life, making me a better man.


  1. Luana Alapa November 14, 2018 9:28 am

    Mahalo for great article on Marcus! I received numerous responses on social media and loved one in particular that came from his former teacher at St. Louis who posted the article from Star Advertiser – HEE Makes Dreams Happen- in his classroom to show his students how Marcus dreams and work ethic became reality. Another response came from a mother who said Marcus dream board became an inspiration to her as she was in a rut with her career and wanted to make changes in her life. Dreams really do come true through hard work, discipline, and love for what you do.

  2. D'z November 14, 2018 8:26 pm

    RIGHT ON #2!!! Im a Lunatic (Lahainaluna Fanatic), seen you play against Kaimuki and your a SPECIAL TALENT!!! CONGRATULATIONS on the win and an AMAZING season. Good Luck and GOD BLESS! see you guys this Saturday!

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