Kanoelani Steward, UH Hilo alumna and now graduate student in Hawaiian language, comes full circle with help from UH

As a teacher at Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Lahaina at Lahaina Intermediate, she’s proud to teach ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi on the campus she once attended.

When Kanoelani Steward attended Lahaina Intermediate School, you weren’t likely to hear students speaking the Hawaiian language around campus. Now, as a teacher at Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Lahaina at Lahaina Intermediate, she’s proud to teach ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi on the campus she once attended.

“It’s super important because it’s a part of who we are as a people,” she says. “If we don’t have our language, we don’t have the stories that come from our people; we don’t have the stories of this place that we come from.”

Steward discovered an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Hawaiian culture during her time at Kapi‘olani Community College. After earning her liberal arts degree from Kapiʻolani CC, she moved to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, where she earned a bachelor of science in marine science and a bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies. She’s now pursuing a master’s degree in Hawaiian language and literature from UH Hilo, via live streaming technology.

“Find a hui,” she advises students. “When you have a hui and you work together, you’re able to bounce ideas off of each other; you’re able to study together. This is what’s really going to take you to wherever you want to go.”

 

UH System News