Mahalo for Your Service: KS Maui Alumni Embody Alakaʻi Lawelawe

Nov. 10, 2022

E Ola! Graduates

Cody Felipe, KSM’08, never imagined that his military career would lead him to being a member of the U.S. Department of Defense’s newest branch, Space Force Guardians.

His career in the U.S. Air Force began in Virginia and eventually led to a role in Santa Barbara’s Space and Missile Systems Center. Now he’s back on Maui at the Air Force Research Laboratory. Wherever his service takes him, his time at Kamehameha Schools Maui remains a guiding light, he says.

“KS Maui instilled me with discipline in everything that I do — to be willing to serve others and those in need,” Felipe reflected. “These values, among many others, have been the most important to me during my time in the military. KS Maui also taught me to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and be able to adapt to any situation quickly and efficiently.”

Felipe is among a cadre of alumni who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military. In honor of Veteran’s Day, we gathered reflections from a few of our graduates about alakaʻi lawelawe — servant leadership — embodied by our founder Ke Aliʻi Bernice Pauahi Bishop.

Puanaʻala Kaʻōpūiki Amano, KSM’08
United States Navy

Growing up my mom told me to “Be a credit to my race. Be proud to be Hawaiian and be an example for other Hawaiians.” I knew I did not want to go to college immediately after high school but I wanted to see what the rest of the world had to offer. ... My schooling taught me respect and really helped with my career when I was a liaison with foreign military.

Kaiʻea Hokoana, KSM’13
United States Air Force

When I entered the military, I got to see the true importance and impact that sincere servant leadership can have on a unit or organization. I was able to see how beneficial it could be toward fostering a strong and healthy organizational culture, and how it impacts each individual both personally and professionally.

Keanu Kaʻaʻa, KSM’09
United State Marine Corps, Retired
Hawaiʻi Air National Guard

I think joining the Marine Corps was about my desire to be a part of something greater. The war in Afghanistan and Iraq were still raging on and I felt that I needed to do my part. Joining the Marines felt like the best option at the time. ... Pauahi's life example of putting service before self gave me something to emulate.

Matthew Pires, KSM’06
United States Air Force Reserve

When September 11 occurred, I definitely felt a pull to serve in any way that I could. After graduating high school, I decided to go to college, but after two years it wasn't satisfying. So I decided to join the US Air Force and was able to get a job in Fire Protection. I've always felt that I wanted to join the military at some point.

Kaylee-Marie Zimmermann, KSM’19
United States Navy

I joined the Navy in November of 2020 with the intent of using the service as a stepping stone toward furthering my education. I now proudly serve my country’s Navy on the USS MASON DDG 87 as a damage controlman third-class petty officer.