HawCC Associated Student President, Kanoe Case, born in Honoka`a, raised in Waimea and was raised by her grandparents. Her grandparents raised her in the older ways. They were very strict and education was very valuable. At a very young age, Kanoe could remember her grandparents teaching her timetables and good social skills.
Currently 27, she can now see the value of their efforts. She can now reap the benefits. She absolutely loved elementary school and was an honors student from the 8th grade. Kanoe remembers her grandmother saving all records of Kanoe’s achievements. One of her fond memories was when she was honored to be the May Day Queen. It was such a transformational day for her that it brought a feeling of what was to come and what she was going to accomplish.
In her 9th grade year, her life guard mentor at the YMCA, Mary Wood and her grandparents taught her a lot about taking initiative, being involved, service to others all the time.
Kanoe attended Honokaa High School and it was then that she faced extreme pressure that all teenagers faced in school. It was here that Kanoe got lost with the direction in her life and got involved in drugs. She eventually graduated in 2002.
To change the direction in her life and at her grandparent’s encouragement, Kanoe moved to Colorado to receive her mother’s influence in her life. She took this opportunity to get away and to have time for herself. It was there that she understood where she was at and that she was taken off course.
In 2005, she was with child and it was at this time in her life that she realized that it was not about her life anymore or about others but a new responsibility- to find direction where she needed to go to be a good influence in her baby’s life. Before the birth of her son, her grandmother passed away and Kanoe felt a deep loss. Kanoe remembers the support of her charter school Kanu O Ka Aina. “I remember taking my Grandmother’s ashes on the Makali`i- the voyaging canoe, built in Waimea.” The trip, although short, was very profound and I found that meaning, culture is perpetuated through our actions. My grandma’s viability will always remain. I am the last grandchild raised in this house and I needed to take that direction. No limitations. Grandma’s presence was felt way stronger, much more.
“I feel a responsibility to carry out the traditions. I feel like I have taken a little of my grandmother’s role in my ohana. Sometimes my ohana asks me to say the blessings at family gatherings and parties. We ought to take care of one another and sometimes that means we gotta make sacrifices with 1, 2, 3 or 4 jobs. We need to be strong and we need to make sacrifices.”