HawCC Graduation Profile – Kacy “Noenoe” Kuailanai

Born and raised in Kailua Kona 1991. She was  not planning on attending college until her junior in high school. She did two years of automotive at Kealakehe High School in 2009. She has always been interested in car mechanics- very involved in sports and paddling.

“My grandpa was the one who really pushed me and helped me fix all kinds of cars. He was the one who encouraged me to go into automechanics. He was working for the national park and after he retired he worked for Aloha Cargo. It was all of sudden when he passed away. He taught me how to do oil changes, check the starter, gaskets and hoses.”

After I finished my first year in college, her grandfather passed away unexpectedly.

Parents encouraged her to go to college by getting her different college forms and scholarship applications. By the time she decided to come to college, she pushed for financial aid.  Noenoe is the first one to be graduating college in her family. She is setting the standard.

She started fall 2009, right out of high school and straight into the automotive mechanics program- a 2 year program.

She is the oldest of 3. She started playing at 11/12 years old with her grandpa and going to gigs and playing on the side as he performed. In 8th grade, she and her brothers started singing. Grandpa got them singing gigs. A couple of times they performed at the Farm Fair and Carnival. Her grandpa was the main source of inspiration to go to college.

Seeing two other girls in the program working hard gave her motivation.

Stay focused.

She ended up moving here. Her mother’s help with scholarship applications helped her with her first year in college.

Side jobs working on cars helped her stay in college.

“Keep moving forward. People keep coming and going. But you gotta stay focused on the responsibilities to progress yourself.”

After graduation, Noenoe will apply to work at Napa Auto Parts in Kona and will do some field work in airplanes and in aeronautics and aircraft mechanics. While alive, her grandpa did a lot of traveling and as the oldest grandchild, she got to travel with him.  Through a mutual friend of her grandpa’s, she learned how to read elevation and how to level to the horizon. She’s interested in flying but hasn’t learned to fly or takeoff yet.

“Flying is totally different being off the ground.” She’s looking into Honolulu Community College into their aircraft mechanics program.

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