Student Outreach Update

E Mālama ʻia nā Pono o ka ʻĀina e nā ʻŌpio: The Traditions of the Land Are Perpetuated by Its Youth

By Avis Kuuipoleialoha Poai, Director of Student Outreach

Aloha mai kākou! As I look back on this past year, I reflect on the numerous programs and schools that Ka Huli Ao has had an opportunity to work with, including: Nā Koʻokoʻo – UH Mānoa’s Hawaiian Leadership Program, Kuʻi Ka Lono 2018, UH Mānoa’s Native Hawaiian Student Services, Kamehameha Schools, Kamehameha Scholars Program, UH Mānoa Honors Program, Poʻi Nā Nalu – Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program at Honolulu Community College, UH Mānoa Pre-Law Society, and Ke Kula Kaiapuni ʻo Ānuenue (just to name a few). We have also branched out and visited the UH Hilo and UH West Oʻahu campuses. In addition to this, we are actively involved in administering the Ka Huli Ao LSAT program. For Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, we welcomed a total of 49 students to our LSAT program. Thus, in total, Ka Huli Ao has reached approximately 572 students from all ages, backgrounds, and schools.

It is an extremely rewarding experience to meet and talk at length with students who have an interest in pursuing a career in law. And while there were many terrific student outreach events this past school year, here are a few of my favorites:

Ānuenue students with Governor David Ige

On November 2, 2017, Ka Huli Ao led a field trip to the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, and the Governor’s Office for a group of eighth and eleventh grade immersion students from Ke Kula Kaiapuni ʻo Ānuenue. Students had an opportunity to meet with Kamalolo Koanui-Kong, Esq. ʻ17 (a former Hawaiian language immersion student and current attorney), Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say, and Governor David Ige. The purpose of the field trip was to help students better understand the three branches of government. One of the highlights of the trip for students was their participation in the mock oral arguments of Oni v. Meek in the historic courtroom at Aliʻiolani Hale. To read more about this excursion, please see our blog posting here.

KS Scholars visit Aliʻiolani Hale and meet Justice Sabrina McKenna

On December 28, 2017, Ka Huli Ao facilitated a student outreach program at the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court for a cohort of high school students who are participating in the Kamehameha Scholars program. Students had the unique opportunity to hear inspirational remarks from Hawaiʻi Supreme Court Justice Sabrina McKenna, who encouraged students to seek justice for all.  Students took a short tour of Aliʻiolani Hale and the Hawaiʻi Judiciary History Center with Ahukini Fuertes, Education Specialist with the Judiciary History Center. Students then had the opportunity to participate in a mock trial, Māui v. Kalā.  Students played various roles in this mock trial, such as the plaintiff, defendant, bailiff, lawyers, and witnesses. To read more about this excursion, please see our blog posting here.

Ānuenue students with Clarabal ʻohana, and NHLC attorneys

On February 7, 2018, Ka Huli Ao led a group of eighth grade students to observe oral arguments in the immersion school case, Clarbal v. Department of Education. I had the privilege of working with these students in November when we went on a huakaʻi to learn about the three branches of government (see above). To prepare these students for oral arguments, Iokana Aronowicz, Esq. and I went to Ānuenue before the excursion to better acquaint students with courtroom procedures. We also made a slideshow to help students learn about the facts, the procedural history, and the salient legal arguments in the case.

Most importantly, we talked with students about “what was at stake” in this case and how it impacted them. It was a vivid reminder about how critical it is to engage our youth. These students asked thoughtful, incisive questions that reflected their concern about the importance of ʻōlelo to our Lāhui. To read more about oral arguments, please see this article. To read more about this excursion, please see our blog posting here.


There are so many people who help make student outreach a success. First and foremost, I am indebted to Letani Peltier for his help with the LSAT program, and his willingness to pitch-in with numerous tabling events that we do throughout the year. I would also like to personally thank our volunteers who tirelessly led student discussions and served as tour guides this past year: Iokana Aronowicz, Kamalolo Koanui-Kong, Kaleio Crowell, Kaiwi Opulauoho, Alyssa Kau, and Luʻukia Nakanelua. Mahalo to all who helped us this past year! I look forward to another exciting school year filled with joy and learning.

If you are interested in potential outreach programs for your students, or are interested in volunteering, please email me: