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KSK graduate Tehani Louis-Perkins, Traven Apiki, Kimokeo Kapahulehua of the Kimokeo Foundation, Malia Chow of NOAA and KSH graduate Keakealani Pacheco with the Road Trip Nation jeep.

KS graduates join Naviance Road Trip Nation for STEAM education

Feb. 9, 2017

Contributed by Pakalani Bello

As part of offering a world-class education, Kamehameha Schools strives to create an environment that promotes post-secondary success. Partnering with Naviance, a college and career readiness software company, KS was able to help create opportunities for two of its recent alumni to gain invaluable “real world” knowledge from leaders in STEAM fields in Hawaiʻi through Naviance’s Road Trip Nation.

For any student, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their life has always been a tough question to tackle. For Keakealani Pacheco, a 2016 KS Hawaiʻi graduate, and Tehani Louis-Perkins, a 2014 KS Kapālama graduate, that question may have gained clarity over the winter break with their participation with Road Trip Nation.

Since 2002, Naviance, a college and career readiness software, has helped students make informed decisions on career planning. Kamehameha Schools campuses, post-high counselors and Hoʻolaukoa have used Naviance since 2013, while Naviance has offered Road Trip Nation to help students have honest questions answered by professionals in many different fields.

In December 2016, Road Trip Nation came to Hawaiʻi, for the first time, to explore careers and discover how innovations in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) fields are improving lives both locally and globally.

“I really enjoyed my experience with Road Trip Nation,” said Pacheco, who’s currently a student at Hawaiʻi Community College in Hilo. “It taught me a lot about myself and showed me the endless amount of possibilities for my future. I was actually in the process of finishing my finals as we were on the trip, so I had to take three finals on our break day in Kona. I know I didn’t do so great on my math final, but what was cool was that I could relate better to the people we were interviewing. A lot of them told me they didn’t do great in school, but they had a lot of heart, and ultimately were chosen because of their dedication to the field, and not because of a 4.0 GPA. One of the bigger takeaways I got from that was the fact that a grade in a report card will never define me as a person. And one little blemish on my record will not outshine all the other wonderful things I have done with my life. It’s also taught me to look for the good in everything, rather than what is bad about it. Perspective is everything.”

During their time in Hawaiʻi, Road Trip Nation took students over the age of 18 for four, week-long, island-specific road trips on four different islands. Those interviewed came from a wide range of professions, including Governor David Ige, Meteorologist Kevin Wallis, Navigator Bonnie Kahapea-Tanner, Chriselle Galapon, an engineer at the Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope, Volcanologist Jim Kauahikaua and Kampachi Farms founder Neil Sims, amongst others.

“This winter break was the first time Road Trip Nation has done anything in Hawaiʻi,” added Louis-Perkins, a student at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. “Our trip was based on students from Hawaiʻi who were interested in the STEM fields. I was lucky enough to be chosen because of my interest in biology and environmental studies.

“We spoke to many people about their experiences not only in the STEM field, but also how they got to where they are today. This included hardships they faced, why they chose the field of study, and basically their life story. For me, it was amazing because I got to meet people that I always looked up to in those fields and got to learn more about it. I also learned that the challenges that I face are similar to the challenges that they faced when they were my age. It helped me to have some peace of mind knowing that even though I will face all these challenges, it is still possible to be very successful.”

The interviews, all based around STEAM topics, will be put together into videos that will be shown on PBS Hawaiʻi. For more information on Road Trip Nation, including videos from previous road trips, go to their website at


SP2020 is a five-year strategic plan that will guide Kamehameha Schools from 2015 to 2020. The plan marks a starting point toward KS’ Vision 2040, which envisions success for all Native Hawaiian learners.

These workshops align with Goal 1 of SP2020 as KS aims to deliver world-class education to Native Hawaiian learners. This also aligns with Action 1 of Kamehameha’s Ten Actions for fiscal year 2016-2017, advancing as a world-class KS school system.

The students then were able to meet with Governor David Ige during the trip.

They even took to the seas as part of the Road Trip Nation tour.

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Kaipuolono Article, Themes, Leadership, Hawaii Newsroom, KS Hawaii Home, Hawaii High School, I Mua Kamehameha, Newsroom, Campus Programs, Hawaii, Kapalama

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