Flourishing Farmers

MHS celebrates the Class of 2011.

The Molokai High Class of 2011 stood together for the last time in the Barn last Saturday, commemorating their past four years and facing the future that lies ahead of them as graduates.

Cheers of support and an occasional blow horn from proud parents and teachers filled the gym as the 75 grinning graduates filed onto center stage. As class president Ka`oli Place stated in his message, the “kolohe class” was coming to an end but their legacy was just beginning.

“The future is awaiting your presence. There is a plan, there is a great scheme of things. You’ll just have to find out what your plan is,” said Principal Stan Hao after playing a heartfelt song on acoustic guitar.

Valedictorian Kawena Puhi, who received $6,500 in scholarships last Wednesday during a recognition assembly, brought many of the 500 audience members to tears with her speech.

“Opportunities will come knocking on our doors,” Puhi said. “It is our choice to open it, enter it or walk away. If it hasn’t sunken in yet, here is your wake-up call.”

“I’ll definitely remember Kawena’s speech,” said classmate Marejke Ah Loy. “It made me cry. She said it’s time to move on and to spread our wings and fly.”

Tears were quickly replaced by smiles and laughter as students hitch-kicked their way off stage with diploma in hand and posed for pictures onstage with friends. Farmers’ colors fell from the ceiling as hundreds of balloons reached flying shakas and waves of triumph.

And while acknowledgments of hard work and success were warmly accepted by the graduates throughout the day, they extended their share of gratitude and appreciation to loved ones who made this day possible.  Waving banners and gesturing toward audience members, the seniors thanked their ohana, school faculty and staff and friends for their continual support and helping them reach their high school achievements.

After the ceremony, graduate Nainoa Macadangdang reflected on the day’s events and his experience at MHS.

“After all this hard work and stress I’ve been through, it feels really good,” he said. I’ll remember spending this day with my friends, mostly my boys. And I’m looking forward to a bright future.”

Show Me the Money – Scholarship Awards

Chelsea Sakamoto: $6,500; Friendly Market, Hotel Molokai, Rotary Club of Lahaina, Star-Advertiser Citizenship and Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award

Kawena Puhi: $6,500; Hali`a Aloha, Maui Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Foodland, Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award

Crystalene Antonio: $4,900; Hali`a Aloha, Pat Kawano Scholarship, Hung Wo and Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award

Kailana Ritte-Camara: $2,900; Friends of Molokai High, Hali`a Aloha, Yola Meyer Forbes and Molokai Lions Club

Kesha Leah Reyes: $2,400; Friendly Market, Hali`a Aloha, Pat Kawano Scholarship, Molokai Community FCU, and Hung Wo and Hung Wo and Elizabeth Lau Ching Foundation Award

Contributed by Molokai Dispatch