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HomeI MUA Newsroom KS Hawaiʻi seniors prepare for their next step

Six seniors from Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i share their plans for life after graduation, where they see themselves in ten years and how KS has helped to prepare them for the next step in their journey.See more inspirational stories of success and how seniors at KS' other two campuses are preparing for graduation at

KS Hawaiʻi seniors prepare for their next step

Graduation is just a few days away. For the nearly 700 Kamehameha Schools seniors about to don their kīhei and harvest the work they’ve put in over the last four years, it’s an exciting, albeit nerve racking time.

What’s college going to be like? Do I really want to major in that? Am I going to make new friends? What’s it going to be like living away from home?

Those are just a few of the questions that most of these students will be asking themselves in the next few months. But as this milestone moment is about to be reached, 16 seniors from across KS’ three campuses answered a few questions about their future and how KS helped to prepare them for this moment.

Here are the six KS Hawaiʻi students that shared their manaʻo:

Kaluhi Kaʻapana knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up. If her senior project is any indication, the future is bright for the aspiring Hawaiian immersion teacher. The emerging leader has collected both memories and valuable experience representing her school at a variety of campus events over the last four years. But this Hilo girl is headed to Mānoa to double major in both education and Hawaiian language.  She chose UH Mānoa as an opportunity to have some independence, but also still be home.

Watching CSI at home in Waiākea Uka inspired senior Ian Sanborn’s interest into forensic science. The eagle scout and recent inductee into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame sees himself using his skills learned as a forensic technician to help solve crimes in the future. He credits the resources and counselor Jan Ching for encouraging him to participate in College Horizions, which is where the 13-year KS Hawaiʻi student found his match in Colorado College.

Makena Wagner has always been competitive with herself academically. At Smith College, she will continue to challenge herself—making her own major—blending engineering and environmental science to prepare for a career in environmental engineering. While she didn’t originally consider attending an all-girls school, after being matched through her College Horizons experience, talking with the softball coach and meeting other students, she found the right fit. She’ll make the move from Hilo to Massachusetts, but ultimately hopes to return home to help Hawaiʻi advance on its own sustainability goals.

Football standout Kaeo Batacan will look to continue his athletic career when he travels to Pacific University in the fall. The running back decided early on that Oregon is the place he wants to be, partly because it reminds him of home, the other part because it is home to the headquarters for one of his favorite athletic wear companies, Nike. Batacan will major in business with hopes of one day working for the company. He feels making the transition to Pacific from Honokaʻa will be easier because of the number of KS Hawaiʻi alumni currently attending the university coupled with the consistency of having a small, private school feel. He also credits the Business academy for preparing him well for what’s ahead.

Senior class president Zoe Azevedo had to grow up quick when she was younger. When her tūtū had a fall when she was in eighth grade, the Hilo girl became a primary caregiver for her grandma. But the experience opened her eyes and set her on the path she is looking to follow one day. She’ll move from Hilo to Linfield College in Oregon in the fall to major in nursing. Her senior project with the Life Care Center, planning activities with her classmates for the elderly residents there, deepened her interest for specializing in geriatric nursing. She hopes to return home and work at North Hawaiʻi Community Hospital in Waimea.

Yukio Ishii won’t be too far from home in Mountain View when he attends the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in the fall. The aspiring marine biologist planned well for the future and completed his due diligence applying for and receiving a number of scholarships that should give him peace of mind. In addition to being able to attend college knowing that he won’t be financially burdened in the future, the Dorrance Scholarship recipient will be able to participate in some incredible experiences around the globe as he is equipped to be able to serve his community well in the future.

While there’s still a lot of work to come to reach their future destinations, they all know they are well prepared for everything that waits ahead. I Mua!

Hoʻomaikaʻi i ka papa 2016! (Congrats to the class of 2016!)

This story is part of “I Mua Kamehameha,” an ongoing effort to celebrate the excellence of KS campus and community education programs. Inspirational stories will be shared throughout the year about KS servant leaders who are improving the lives of KS haumāna and contributing to a thriving Lāhui. 

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