Roosevelt teacher recalls Bruno Mars' raw talent, ambition

Roosevelt teacher recalls Bruno Mars' raw talent, ambition

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's no place the star power of Bruno Mars shines brighter than at his alma mater, Roosevelt High School.

The music artist will appear on 60 Minutes this Sunday to discuss his upbringing in the islands, and his former teachers at Roosevelt are sure to tune in.

Lori Hamel taught the young Mars.

Back then, she knew him as Peter Hernandez -- just another one of her students. She taught him in her English, oral interpretation, drama, and news writing classes, and Hernandez was also her teacher's assistant.

"I think we all knew he was so talented." Hamel said. "He was working at Waikiki at the time. I did get to go see his show. And I was like, 'Wow, you were like the last big highlight of the show and everything.' So we knew his talent was tremendous but i don't think anyone could expect this. This is beyond."

Mars graduated from Roosevelt in 2003 before moving to Los Angeles and to super star status.

When Hamel sees him now, she says it brings back so many memories.

"I just get so tickled with pride. I watch what he's doing can't even imagine his life style, the places that he's visited, the people that he's meeting," she said.

When asked whether Hamel feels like she was responsible for a little part in Mars' success, she says not at all.

"I think it was just pure talent."

She added that Mars is setting an example for other Hawaii kids who have dreams of making it big.

"I think it just shows them that anyone can aspire to almost anything. We don't realize that all of the talent we have in Hawaii and at Roosevelt High School .. and you never know who's going to be next, right."

Mars' latest album, "24K Magic," was released Friday. The 60 Minutes story airs Sunday on KGMB at 6 p.m.

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