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MHS Students Travel East

Community Contributed

By Ric Ornellas

“Spring Break” in America — since the 1930s — meant college students breaking from long winter studies to bask in lazy sun-and-surf days. But that wasn’t the case for a select cohort of 13 Molokai High School students, members of the Molokai College Career Club (MC3). 

The MC3, during this March 13-18 holiday, traveled 5,000 miles on a self-funded college career tour to Columbia University and New York University in NYC and Princeton University and Monmouth University in New Jersey. 

They further enjoyed a customized career night organized by Emily Harris, a NYC resident, longtime MHS supporter since 2014, and mainland paddler in Na Wahine o Ke Kai. Emily brought an array of 18 professionals: lawyers, international consultants, realtors, educators, scientists, artists and a jeweler to meet the 13 students and share glimpses of various careers and requisite education or training. At the evening’s conclusion, the 18 experts thanked the students and advisors for giving them the opportunity to talk with the students rather than the students thanking the 18 specialists.

At all site visits, the students would begin chanting E Ho Mai, seeking to gain valuable knowledge and understanding for decision making that could deeply influence their future lives, and offered Oli Mahalo to thank their guides. Each student also gave individual makani, gifts they had created or found, to thank their college escorts and career professionals. A memorable scene occurred at Princeton University when the students, at an open park, offered both E Ho Mai and Oli Mahalo to Ayla-Rose “Kapili” Naehu-Ramos, a current Princeton sophomore and a 2020 MHS graduate and valedictorian, daughter of Maile and Hanohano Naehu. Kapili received the oli with full knowledge of the traditional meanings while studying at a world-class university of the highest educational caliber. The moment shimmered.

There were three MC3 family reunions. Alex Simon and Misty Parker, MC3 alumnae of the first cohort in 2014 met the students for a Chinatown dim sum lunch and shared their reminiscences and advice for successful college and career planning. Alex Simon was meeting her younger sister, Barbara, a current MHS senior. Alex graduated from Brown University and is pursuing a physician assistant’s degree at Northwestern in Chicago. Misty Parker is a graduate of Willamette University and studying now to apply to medical school. Misty reunited with her traveling MC3 cousin, Halle Agcaoili. The third reunion took place at Princeton with Isaiah Sahagun, a 2016 MC3 traveler and 2019 MHS graduate, who was visiting Kapili Naehu. He reunited with his stepsister, Leonani Puaa, a current MHS junior.

The traveling students were seniors Barbara Simon and Leah Lavoie-Vega; juniors Mele Kaneali’i, Quedin Bumatay, Leonani Puaa, and Kaililauokekoa Asuncion; and sophomores Aiko Kanemitsu, Ivan Ramos, Zaylan Satele-Tangonan, Akela Buchanan, Miliopuna Davis, Nanea Poaha-Kaai and Sheniah Halle Agcaoili. Four co-advisors are Diane Mokuau, Karen Harada, Emilio Macalalad and Ric Ornellas. Save the date for Thursday, April 28 at 6 p.m. for Virtual Ohana Night, using this link: classroom.google.com/c/Mzg2NDE3MTMzMTY2?cjc=xbxitwe. For further questions, call Diane Mokuau at 808-567-7115 during business hours.


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