2019 Graduating Seniors Selected as Aloha ʻĀina Leaders

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The 16 aspiring Aloha ʻĀina Leader Awardees were celebrated by a host of educational leaders at a luncheon at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Ka Waiwai, 1110 University Ave. Courtesy photo.

Kanaeokana, the Kula Hawaiʻi Network, established the Aloha ʻĀina Leader Award in 2018, a unique award for graduating seniors from network schools that recognizes students’ demonstrated aloha ʻāina and community-centered values.

The awardees are drawn from Hawaiian-focused charter schools, DOE kula kaiapuni (Hawaiian language immersion schools) and Kamehameha Schools’ three campuses.

For 2019, 16 youth were selected by their school leaders to represent the best of Aloha ʻĀina leadership in their school community.

The 16 aspiring Aloha ʻĀina Leader Awardees were celebrated by a host of educational leaders at a luncheon at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 10, at Ka Waiwai, 1110 University Ave.

Awardees each received a certificate honoring their achievement and a scholarship award.


2019 A.A.L.A. Recipients

· Abigail Wright, Hakipuʻu Learning Center

· ʻAlohikapuamikiʻala Akina, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi

· Colt Aki, Kamaile Academy

· Ethan Ramos, Kanuikapono


· Haileigh-Jaeden Stevens, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

· Haliaka M.Bird, Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu

· Jenna Tamashiro, Hālau Kū Mana

· Kaʻea Alapaʻi, Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino

· Kalehuakea Kelling, Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau


· Kaimana Nelson, Ke Kula Kaiapuni ʻo Kekaulike

· Kaiulani Kaniaupio, Kamehameha Schools Maui

· Ka`awaloa Kauaula, Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue

· Kauiwai Poepoe-Mollena, ʻO Hina i Ka Malama- Molokai High School

· Keala Kahale, Ke Kula Niʻihau O Kekaha

· Kuʻunahenani Tachera, Kanu o ka ʻĀina

· Victoria Pailate, Ke Ana La’ahana

“A major part of Kanaeokana’s vision is to bring into being ‘a strengthened lāhui that grows and sustains future generations of aloha ‘āina leaders,’ and this award celebrates that vision,” said Mahinapoepoe Paishon-Duarte, co founder of The Waiwai Collective and member of Kanaeokana’s Advocacy Committee.

“We are confident that the educational approach of Hawaiian culture based schools nurtures youth and connects them strongly to the ʻāina and communities,” said Paishon-Duarte.

“With the Aloha ʻĀina Leader Award, we affirm that our kula Hawaiʻi [Hawaiian culture-based schools] are at the forefront of this movement,” said Paishon-Duarte. “Though the aloha ʻāina work we do as a lāhui is not new, we see a greater urgency to recognize its importance as a means to address some of the pressing problems that face our societies globally in these tumultuous times. We are growing the next generation to care for one another and the natural environment to provide sustainability for us all.”

About Kanaeokana

Kanaeokana is a network of over 70 Hawaiian language, culture, and ʻāina-based schools and organizations (preschool through university level) collaborating to develop and grow a Hawaiian education system that will nurture the next generations of aloha ʻāina leaders. Learn more at

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