Highline High School kindly invited Huraiti Mana back again, and this time, to celebrate the amazing achievements of the graduating seniors who are headed off to colleges across the nation in their formal College Day event! I am so proud of the staff that has put on such an important tradition for this school. Similar to Sports Day when many young athletes celebrate the professional sports teams they are joining, College Day is meant to celebrate students' next step toward pursuing their education - a feat just as momentous, daunting, and rewarding.. Shout out to the young student headed to Seattle University (my alma mater) and the two headed to Stanford! E ho'omaika'i nō! Congratulations!
Huraiti Mana was invited to participate in a multi-cultural showcase reflecting the diverse population of students (shout out to my islanders!). I performed "He Hawai'i Au," which is a song expressing the journey to finding and understanding oneself, something I hope that each of these many students come to understand as they embark on their own journeys of self discovery. That though the journey may be difficult, they can always look within and know who they are.
I kēia pō eia au me ʻoe
Kēia pō ua hoʻi mai au
He loa ka helena ma ke ala hele
E huli i wahi ma kēia ao
Maopopo a ua ʻike hoʻi
Ka home i loko o kuʻu puʻuwai
Ua hoʻi mai au, ke ʻike nei au
ʻAʻole au e ʻauana hou
Ke maopopo he Hawaiʻi au
Tonight I am here with you
Tonight, I have returned
Long was my journey on the path
To seek a place in this world
I now clearly see and understand
The home within my heart
I returned when I realized this
I will not wander again
For I understand, I am Hawaiian
My sister and I are the only of our Native Hawaiian family to attend a four-year university and earn a Bachelor's degree. For many of the students celebrated at this College Day event, they are the first in their families to attend college. But, we will not be the last. This opportunity not afforded to so many in our family and so many more in our island homes cannot be reserved for so few. Imua e nā pōkiʻi! We are here for you on this journey.