Kamehameha Schools Maui haumāna (from right): Kealoha Baricuatro (Grade 12), Ka‘ikena Guzman (Grade 8) and Hāweo Fuqua (Grade 5) were honored Sept. 29 with the Ke ʻAno Koa – Warrior Mindset Award during halftime of the football game at Kana‘iaupuni Stadium.
Three Kamehameha Schools Maui haumāna are the inaugural recipients of the Ke ʻAno Koa – Warrior Mindset award. Hāweo Fuqua (Grade 5), Ka‘ikena Guzman (Grade 8) and Kealoha Baricuatro (Grade 12) were honored during halftime of the Sept. 29 home football game alongside their kumu and ʻohana. The award recognizes haumāna who exude the values, behaviors, attitudes and mindset of a Warrior and a Pua a Pauahi.
“I was really nervous, honestly,” said Baricuatro, noting that she did not expect the award. “My family gave me a bunch of lei. It just shows my family loves me.”
Kumu and counselors had singled out Baricuatro for her resilience, courage and grace in the face of unfathomable adversity. On Aug. 8, her family lost their home in the Lahaina wildfires.
Two years prior, her father, Marcus Baricuatro KSK ’88, passed away suddenly due to COVID-19 at age 53.
“I didn’t really know it was happening so fast,” she said. “It happened within a couple weeks. He was fine and then he was gone.”
KS Maui Senior Kealoha Baricuatro (bottom counterclockwise) poses for a family photo with her father, Marcus KSK’88), mother, Uilani Walker-Baricuatro, and sister, Kamahie KSM’19.
Following the sudden passing of her father, Baricuatro said she isolated herself during her sophomore year, shying away from talking with her friends and teachers.
“After losing my dad it was so hard,” she said. “In my junior year, I worked harder to be with others. I just wanted to be more involved with my classmates and get more involved with everything.”
Last school year, Baricuatro began excelling in school and in sports, capturing bronze medals in the high jump and 400-meter race (holds the school record) at the Maui Interscholastic League Track & Field Championships. She said she ended her junior year on a “good note” and was looking forward to her senior year when the wildfires destroyed her family’s home.
“Me and my mom decided to leave because it was super smokey and the power lines were falling down, and we didn’t want to get trapped,” she said.
She said her family has moved from Kīhei to Nāpili to Kā‘anapali, where they are currently staying until at least February before potentially having to find yet another residence.
Despite losing her home in her most recent family tragedy, she has refused to isolate herself again from her friends and family.
“I felt like I climbed this steep hill from the bottom and felt like things were working out,” she said. “But because I felt like that, after all this devastation happened, I didn’t want to restart everything.
“I used to skip a lot of school. Now I actually want to go to school because it’s a good environment.”
KS Maui senior Kealoha Baricuatro receives a hug from ke po‘o māhele luna Lance Cagasan alongside po‘o kumu kāko‘o Jaylyn Hashimoto during the award ceremony Friday (Sept. 29). (Photo Credit: Kailie Kalepa)
Classmates, kumu, counselors and behavioral health apecialists have provided support, including buying items off of her “Amazon Wish List” such as a new lunch bag, rain jacket, electric toothbrush and ‘Aha Mele dress heels, Baricuatro said. She also thanked her class dean, Kaylee Razo Amaral, who she credited with helping her recover from her father’s passing.
“We hangout in her room a lot and she’s known me since freshman year,” Baricuatro said. “She’s just always there, not just for the funny times, but also asks me how I’m doing and how’s my family.”
Kumu Kaylee said Baricuatro embodies the essence of the Warrior Mindset Award through her perseverance and humility.
“Kealoha has demonstrated a remarkable ability to rise above challenges, time and time again,” Kumu Kaylee said. “She has faced loss after loss, yet she refuses to be defeated. Instead, she chooses to stand tall and face life's trials with courage.
She is the first to extend a helping hand whenever a friend or family member is in need. Her compassion, and her actions speak to her character.”
Baricuatro credited her father for encouraging her in school and sports growing up, and instilling the character that has helped her to overcome challenges.
“He was always telling me to try my best, and was a genuine and generous person,” she said. “I learned all my good traits from him.”
Looking forward, Baricuatro wants to enjoy her final year in high school, while improving her grades and performance in basketball and track and field.
“I just want to have fun with sports and get into a good college and setup my next year after graduation,” she said. “I feel like that will be a good change for me.”
Haumāna Ka‘ikena Guzman and Hāweo Fuqua were also recognized by their kumu during the award presentation for their leadership and excellence.
KS Maui haumāna (from right): Kealoha Baricuatro (grade 12), Ka‘ikena Guzman (grade 8) and Hāweo Fuqua (grade 5) pose for a photo with family members with their Ke ʻAno Koa – Warrior Mindset Awards. (Photo Credit: Kailie Kalepa)
Guzman is part of the māhele luna (grade 6-8) Hiki Nō broadcast team, which won two awards at the Student Television Network (STN) National Convention Competition, last year. Some 3,000 intermediate and high school students compete in the nationwide competition every year.
His team submitted a story about water rights on Maui and a PSA on wildfires, which won first place.
“I like telling a story in my videos,” he said, noting that he prepares the storyboard, lines up interviews, and identifies filming locations.
Some video projects can take several months, including preparing scripts and questions, and editing the final videos, Guzman said. He said he enjoys working on his own, but wants to grow as a leader in his video production team.
“Being solo works well for me because it’s like working for yourself,” he said. “I think leading our team could really help me, especially this year since we’re going to the mainland for the STN competition so I can practice new things and we can do better.”
Fifth grader Hāweo Fuqua said he was proud and grateful to receive the Ke ʻAno Koa award from his kumu, who recognized him as a young ‘ōiwi leader on the māhele lalo (grade K-5) campus. Fuqua said he tries to use ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi as much as possible at school and at home. He joked that his favorite phrase is “go ‘auʻau”, or “go shower.”
“I’m so busy with homework and I’m finally done at 8 p.m., but they’ve told me to go do it [shower] five times already,” he said.
Fuqua said he wants to learn more about Hawaiian language and culture, and may even want to teach Hawaiian education when he grows up.
“I think it’s important because we are Hawaiians and we need to learn about our culture so we can pass it on for generations,” he said. “My grandma teaches me all about my Hawaiian culture and how to be grateful.”
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