college graduation finances

Nā Leo Kāko‘o o Maui (NLK) is a nonprofit organization made up of parents and community members that support three Kula Kaiapuni or Hawaiian Language Immersion school sites: Pā‘ia, Kalama Intermediate and King Kekaulike high school. Incorporated in 1990, the organization’s main goal is to advocate for Hawaiian language education in our public schools and to ensure the needs of their students are adequately met.

One of the projects that NLK, along with our Hui Pukana (alumni group), provide is an annual scholarship that is awarded to an immersion graduate. This year the scholarship was awarded to ‘A‘ali‘ikumakani Dukelow.

Below is his Hawaiian Immersion graduation speech in ma ka ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i with a translation into English. Congratulations!

(*please note that the Kahakō markings are not placed in the submission below)

‘Oiai wau he haumana kaiapuni mai ko’u wa kamaiki a i keia manawa, ua pomaika’i wau i ke a’o ‘ana mai i ka ‘ike a me na loina o ko makou mau kupuna me ko makou lahui. I ko’u a’o ‘ana mai i ia ‘ike, ua hiki ia’u ke mahalo i ka waiwai o ko makou lahui. ‘O kekahi o na loina ko’iko’i a’u i a’o mai ai ‘o ia no ka ho’olokahi, ke akahai, ka ‘imi na’auao, ka ho’omau, a me ke aloha ‘aina. ‘Oiai ua a’o wau i keia mau kahua hana i ko’u wa kamaiki, ‘o ia ko’u kahua a ho’a’o nui au e ho’opili ia i ko’u ola holo’oko’a.

‘O ka ho’olokahi, he loina ko’iko’i no ka ho’oikaika ‘ana i ko makou kaiaulu a me ko makou lahui Hawai’i. ‘O ke akahai kekahi loina e ho’omaopopo ai ia makou e kupa’a me ka ha’aha’a i ko makou ʻahaʻi ʻana i ka lanakila. He lahui ho’ona’auao makou, a ua ‘imi mau ko makou mau kupuna i ka na’auao. Pela ka makou e hana ai e ho’oko i ke ola pono. ‘O ka holomua ‘ana i ka ‘ike o ko makou mau kupuna ko makou kuleana i ola mau ko lakou ‘ike. ‘O ke aloha ‘aina ka ho’ihi ‘ana i ka ‘aina ma ke ‘ano he po’okela, ‘oiai na ka ‘aina ka mea e ho’ola ai ia makou me ko makou mau keiki. He mau loina keia i ho’oilina ‘ia mai ko makou mau kupuna ia makou, a na makou ke kuleana e ho’omau i keia ‘ike no ko makou lahui e holomua.

I keia au, akahi no i puka mai ko makou lahui mai ka paku’i ‘ia ‘ana o ko makou ‘olelo a me na ‘ike ku’una o ko makou lahui, a pono makou e noke mau i ka holopono o ko makou lahui. Mau no ka mana’opa’a o na po’e ‘ino e ho’olu’ulu’u a ho’ohewa ia makou a pono makou e ‘onipa’a a ho’opio i ia mau po’ino. Ma’o ko’u a’o ‘ana mai i ka ‘ike ku’una a me ka ‘olelo makuahine, ua maopopo au i ko’u kuleana e ho’omau a malama i ia ‘ikena a a’o aku i ko’u mau hanauna i holomua ai ko makou lahui.

As a student of the Hawaiian language immersion program for my entire life, I had the opportunity to learn the knowledge and values of our ancestors and our culture. Learning these values allowed me to appreciate the essence of my heritage. The essential values of my culture that I have learned is ho’olokahi, akahai, ‘imi na’auao, ho’omau, and aloha ‘aina. Although I initially learned these principles when I was young, they serve as my foundation and I try my best to apply them within everything that I do.

Ho’olokahi, or to unify, is an essential value to our Hawaiian community because it encourages us to cooperate in order to achieve a common goal as a collective people. Akahai, or humility, is another value that reminds us to remain steadfast with modesty in our pursuit of cultural prosperity. ‘Imi na’auao, or to acquire knowledge, allowed our ancestors to thrive as a people and we must intend to do so in order to succeed. Ho’omau, or to perpetuate, emphasizes our responsibility to apply the beliefs of our ancestors within our search for knowledge. Aloha ‘aina, or to care for the land, originates from our ancestors understanding that the land is our superior, and should be treated with respect. Each of these values are regarded as the morals of our culture. All of us as Hawaiian people possess the potential to emulate these values and lead our subsequent generations to success.

In these austere times, where our culture has recently emerged from oppression and deculturalization, it is crucial for us to restore the identity of our people. Outer forces intend to debilitate our welfare and it is our responsibility to lead ourselves and each other to overcome these tribulations. Upon learning these values and the language of my culture, I realized that it is my responsibility to preserve and perpetuate this knowledge and share it with our subsequent generations in order for our people to thrive.

To find out more about the Hawaiian Immersion program here on Maui go to

Image Credit: Happy Bandits

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