Momi Tolentino has decided to pursue medicine at Dartmouth College with hopes of returning home one day to serve her community as a neonatologist.
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 five KS Kapālama students that shared their manaʻo:
Both Momi Tolentino from Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi and Kaeo Kruse from Kalaheo, Kauaʻi credit the boarding program for preparing them for what’s ahead. Both students are East Coast bound as Tolentino heads to Dartmouth and Kruse to Harvard. Both are also looking to give back through the medical profession in the future, Tolentino as a neonatologist and Kruse in the area of sports medicine.
A cross country and track phenom, Kruse will continue his athletic career with the Crimson. Harvard offered the right balance of academic support and athletics. One day, he hopes to be working at the Olympic Training center or possibly training there himself, continuing his record-breaking running career.
While she originally looked into pursing political science and the law, Tolentino identified a need for more doctors here in Hawaiʻi and hopes to one day return home where she can continue to support the Native Hawaiian community. Her strong connection to her culture meshed well with the atmosphere at Dartmouth that embraces and supports indigenous cultures.
Jordan Bayudan is also pursuing a medical career in nursing. But an experience with when he was younger, coupled with an early acceptance to the nursing program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, helped to shape the path he would take next. The Ewa Beach product also credits his experiences being involved as both an athlete and on a number of student leadership clubs and teams for preparing him for this next step.
Chris-Jordon Ulufale’s West Side roots in Nānākuli run deep. While he’s bound for Western New Mexico, he hopes to one day return home to be a teacher and coach on the Waiʻanae Coast where he grew up. Planning to major in education, while still pursuing his professional football dreams while on scholarship and playing for Rawhide. He has a strong desire to defy sterotypes and positively affect his community to show that kids from the 96792 can give back and do big things, crediting his mom as his inspiration.
After exploring different paths on career day, Taj-Destiny Vierra knew she had found what she wanted to be one day…a firefighter. Wanting to save lives and enjoying the physical aspect of the job, she couldn’t see herself doing anything else. So in the fall, she will travel from Waiʻanae to attend Southwestern Oregon Community College, majoring in fire science, with one day hopes of becoming a federal firefighter. Ultimately, she hopes in the future that she can support her family and have just enough to be happy.
For all five KSK seniors, the right financial situation for college was their primary concern in where they chose to attend school next year, all finding the right fit to ease the burden and prepare them for the future they are looking to pursue.
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.