Wailuku student weaves storytelling, culture to win free tuition

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Kamehameha Schools Maui senior and salutatorian Nanea Ah You is shooting for the stars, and the place she wants to do it at is the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

On the premise of being interviewed by Hawaii News Now reporter Chelsea Davis about her award-winning video in the ʻŌlelo Community Media Youth Xchange Student Video Competition, Ah You excitedly shared how she hopes to use storytelling to cultivate her culture. The interview took a different turn when Ah You was told that she was named the winner of the #TakeMeToManoa social media contest hosted by Hawaii News Now.

UH Mānoa admissions counselor Jose Magno, Kamehameha Schools teachers and staff presented the visibly stunned student and her parents with a giant check for a year of free tuition at UH Mānoa, courtesy of the University of Hawaiʻi Federal Credit Union (UHFCU).

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Nanea with her parents

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Thank you!” said Ah You with tears in her eyes.

“Each spring for the past four years, the #TakeMeToManoa social media contest has allowed our campus to connect with the local community in a very thoughtful, engaging, and authentic way,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Nanea is an incredible visual storyteller, with an enormous amount of talent. Beyond a voice for herself, she is a voice for her community. We are honored and privileged to have Naneaʻs academic journey continue here at Mānoa.”

“Since 1955, we’ve been committed to helping members and our community thrive. To honor that promise, we’re excited to partner with the University of Hawaiʻi to offer scholarship programs like the #TakeMeToManoa social media contest that support students and the future well-being of our communities,” said UHFCU President and CEO Travis Bow. “We recognize the financial challenge and sacrifices a family and student must make to complete a degree, and we are proud to play a part in helping them reach their academic goals.”

The online contest, which was open to incoming fall 2022 Hawaiʻi freshmen and transfer students, asked entrants to upload a short video explaining why UH Mānoa is the right college for them, and the impact a year of free tuition will have on their life.

Ah You’s poignant video entry touched upon how winning this contest will enable her to go farther in pursuing her dreams as a filmmaker and use her talent to shine the spotlight upon her lāhui.

“When I see my future at Mānoa, I see myself thriving at what I love to do while also remaining close with the ʻāina and its kānaka,” said Ah You. “I know that this school will help me do my part as a kānaka Hawaiʻi by sharing the stories that take place amongst my home.”

Ah You cannot wait to start her UHM-azing journey at UH Mānoa.

This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.



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