In 2016, Mālama Learning Center, in partnership with our friends at Islander Institute, launched the inaugural year ofIslander Scholars, a special honor for public high school juniors who exemplify the values that we love about Hawai'i!
We all know students who care for themselves and their community, honor their culture and their kuleana, and value their home place but rarely are there opportunities to publicly recognize these students. Most awards look at a student's potential for future success because of their grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities. Our Islander Scholars Program is unique in that we are supporting students, not just for who they might become, but for who they are now.
We invited public school principals at traditional and charter high schools statewide to select one junior in their school to be an Islander Scholar based on six comprehensive learning outcomes rooted in Hawaiʻi's culture and environment. These outcomes, called Nā Hopena Aʻo or HĀ, include a strengthened sense of Belonging; Responsibility; Excellence; Aloha; Total Well-Being; and Hawaiʻi, spelling out BREATH, which we know as HĀ. We asked principals to select students who exemplify these characteristics through their actions in school, community, and families to be their school's Islander Scholar.
For our first class, we selected 16 Islander Scholars from Kaua'i, Lāna'i, Hawai'i Island, and O'ahu who came together on June 3 to 5 at our home at Camp Pālehua for the culminating event of this program, the Islander Scholars Academy. There, they grounded themselves in the place and mo'olelo of Pālehua, explored their kuleana as individuals and together, and built lasting relationships. The students' diverse backgrounds, as well as the creative ideas of the seminar leaders, led to a deep, rich, and life-changing experience for everyone involved. Now seniors at their respective high schools, the Islander Scholars have the tools and support to lead their peers and even adults, as we all search for better ways to live as Islanders.
The 2016 class of Islander Scholars Kauaʻi
Robyn Acob, Waimea High School
Bailey Mackenzie, Kauaʻi High School
Nathalie Alomar, Kapolei High School
Trey Garcia, Kamaile Academy
Austin Hashimoto, Waiʻānae High School
Camryn Kaina, University Laboratory School
Andrew Kaufusi, Kaiser High School
Josiah Nahinu, Nānākuli High & Intermediate School
Kaʻulawena Perez-Wasson, Kula Kaiapuni Hawaiʻi ʻo Kahuku Academy
Parker Szelag, Lānaʻi High & Elementary School
Alexandria Tyau, Maui High School
Patrick Williams, King Kekaulike High School
Aurelia Hart, Kanu o ka ʻĀina New Century Public Charter School
Jaylyn Mahoe-Subica, Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School
Kamalukea Moke, Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu
Justin Texeira, West Hawaiʻi Explorations Academy Public Charter School
Pauline Sato led an interpretive hike on the Palikea Trail
for the Islander Scholars
In this second year (2017) of our program, principals from 28 public and charter schools from six islands selected one outstanding junior to be their school’s Islander Scholar. Principals were given the autonomy and privilege of selecting one student for their character, compassion, resilience, wellbeing, aloha, and actions that demonstrate these values every day. In June 2017, we will convene these students in a unique three-day experience to connect them with one another, explore their kuleana, learn from distinguished community mentors, and meet last year’s Islander Scholars.
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