KSK’s Hirayama Named Presidential Scholar
n May 2015, Kamehameha Schools Kapälama senior Sierra Hirayama KSK’15 of Käne‘ohe was one of two Hawai‘i students to be named to the 51st class of United States Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s top honors for high school seniors. Each class of presidential scholars is comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and from U.S.
Sierra Hirayama KSK’15 shares her thoughts about her unconventional and “divergent” class during her valedictorian speech at KS Kapa ¯lama’s commencement ceremonies in May 2015.
families living abroad. Fifteen students are also chosen at-large and 20 are named U.S. Presidential Scholars in the arts. Currently a freshman at Stanford University, Hirayama received an expensepaid trip to Washington, D.C., in June 2015 and was presented with a U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a ceremony sponsored by the White House. While at Kapälama, Hirayama – the 2015 KSK valedictorian – was an accomplished all-around student. She was a member of the campus’ speech and debate team as well as its water polo and kayaking teams. She also co-founded “Kids for Kids,” a campus club that encourages students to volunteer for community events with school-aged children. And since middle school, she has taken part in the STEMPREP Project summer science program put on by The Distance Learning Center, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
KS Surf Team Wins Second Straight National Title
n June 2015 the Kamehameha Schools surf team, comprised of Warriors from both the KS Kapa ¯lama and KS Maui campuses, won its second consecutive national championship, taking home the 2015 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Interscholastic Championship at Salt Creek, Dana Point, CA. The hui, led by Head Coach Lea Arce, finished just four points ahead of San Clemente High School in the final standings, posting 94 total points. Team members gathered for a photo on stage following the competition: Front Row: (from left) – Jacob Maihui KSK’17, Julian Williams KSK’18, Paliku Victorino KSK’15, Nakoa Sabate KSK’15, Back Row (from left) – Head Coach Lea Arce, Imai Devault KSM’15, Nathan Hester KSK’16, Charlie Akao KSK’15, Kuio Young KSK’17, Cayla Moore KSK’15, Kealohi Sabate KSK’15, Kahia Walker KSK’16, and Assistant Coach Isaiah Walker.
Gates Millennium Scholar Ku ¯pa‘aikekaiao Vincent Thomas KSH’15 showcases the many accolades he earned during the 2014-2015 school year
KS Hawai‘i’s Thomas Named Gates Millennium Scholar
n Spring 2015, Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i’s Küpa‘aikekaiao Vincent Thomas KSH’15 was named a 2015 Gates Millenium Scholar. He received a prestigious scholarship that not only covers the cost of college but also helps pay for graduate school, up to and including a doctorate. Thomas’ story is one of perseverance, as he overcame Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that creates challenges in social interaction and nonverbal communication. His language and vocabulary development was severely delayed until age 4 and he had a one-on-one skills trainer from preschool through sixth grade to help him with social prompts and communications skills. When he was accepted in the seventh grade to KS Hawai‘i, he began to move on without that assistance. Thomas’ father Terry Thomas credits the environment at KS Hawai‘i for helping his son move forward and thrive, providing support and acceptance in an environment that would have otherwise been a challenge. Thomas, who is pursuing his studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, earned a number of additional scholarships, including a Pauahi Scholars Liko Lehua Award and a CU Boulder Chancellor’s Award. In addition to being an outstanding student, Thomas participated in paddling and cross country, along with the Hawai‘i State Engineering and Science Fair, and was named class salutatorian. The 2015 graduate is the third KSH student to earn the scholarship. The others were Bram Paikuli KSH’14 and Shariyah Campbell KSH’10. 7