Ho‘okawowo Scholarships Encourage Hawaiian Culture-Based Teaching

February 4, 2019, 8:42 AM HST
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Hawaiʻi’s network of Native Hawaiian Schools, and Kamehameha Schools have teamed up to create the Hoʻokawowo Scholarship for graduate and undergraduate students pursuing careers in pre K-12 Hawaiian culture-based education.

The need-based scholarship acknowledges the growing need for more teachers in Hawaiʻi by encouraging students seeking degrees in education, Hawaiian language, and Hawaiian studies to enter Hawaiian culture-based and Hawaiian medium-immersion teaching careers.

“Hoʻokawowo exemplifies how Kanaeokana is advancing a system of Hawaiian education by working with our network members to strengthen Hawaiian culture-based education across the pae ʻāina” said Makalapua Alencastre, Kanaeokana member and director of Kahuawaiola teacher training program at UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani. Kahuawaiola prepares teachers for Hawaiian language medium-immersion classrooms.

“The nationwide teacher shortage is more acute for our schools in Hawaiʻi, due to our cost of living, and is further amplified because our kumu must be dual qualified in education and Hawaiian language competencies,” said Meahilihila Kelling, director at Samuel M. Kamakau Public Charter School in Haʻikū, Oʻahu.

Recruiting teacher candidates from university programs into teaching positions after graduation is critical. Director Kelling continued, “We are anticipating that the Kamehameha Schools Hoʻokawowo scholarship will offer a key financial support for university students to complete their education degree programs, enabling them to immediately enter the teaching field with us.”


ʻAukai Walk, a young husband, father, and education major enrolled at UH West Oʻahu received a Hoʻokawowo scholarship this academic year, which will allow him to complete his bachelor’s degree on time without encumbering massive student loan debt. As a Native Hawaiian male, Walk says he wants to see more young men enter the teaching field to be leaders in the classroom.


“I had the best teachers at Ānuenue School and most of them were female,” he said. “I think more kāne teachers are needed, especially in our kaiapuni and Hawaiian culture-based schools so we can be cultural role models, especially for the Hawaiian boys in the class.”

Hoʻokawowo Scholarship applications are due by Feb. 14, 2019. To apply, visit Kamehameha Schools’ Financial Aid and Scholarship Services website. Students must demonstrate financial need to qualify. Kamehameha Schools gives preference to applicants of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.

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