Meet Wahine!

My name is Wahinenonoheonakai’akahai. I am from Hilo, Hawaii and am of Hawaiian and African American de- scent. My Hawaiian name means “The adorable woman of the gentle sea”. I am the youngest of three chil- dren with two older brothers. I am currently in the 6th grade. I am really enjoying my middle school and learning a lot.

I love to learn about my Hawaiian heritage. I am a de- scendant of Hawaiian Royalty. My great-great grand- mother is Princess Owanaka’ohelelani La’anui. My great- great grandfather, Robert William Kalanihi’apo Wilcox was Hawai’i’s first delegate to Congress. In the days when Ha- wai’i was illegally occupied by the American government, he led an insurrection against the so-called “reformed government” with intentions to restore the Monarchy to Native Hawaiians, or Queen Lili’uokalani.

Even though I live far away from my home in Hawai’i, I am able to keep my culture alive through dancing hula, which I love, love, love to hula. I dance for a group called Indy Hula. Dancing with Indy Hula I have learned dances from Hawai’i as well as Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand, and Cook Islands. I have had the opportunity to perform at the International Festival, with the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, at IU Bloomington, and for various organizations around the city of Indianapolis. Hula is dance that tells a story to song or chant. I am able to learn more about my culture and language when learning hula. Dancing hula helps me to appreciate my Hawaiian culture.

I also love to sing. I am in my school's choir. I enjoy learn- ing how to read music and notes. I also enjoy the time I spend in the car with my dad because he turns the vol- ume up and we have fun singing and dancing to my fa- vorite songs. My oldest brother, who now attends the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, performed at Pike High School in the school’s show choir. He inspired me to want to sing and I look forward to one day being a part of show choir also.

My parents love to keep me active, so I played a little bit of basketball, learned to swim and actually swam in an actu- al swim meet, and ran track with the Indy Cheetahs. Over the summer I attended volleyball camps at The Academy and recently made their top non-travel team for off-season volleyball. Now, I discovered that volleyball is a sport that I really enjoy and I now have a goal to, one day, play volley- ball in college and in the Olympics. I know that it will take a lot of work and I am willing to work hard to reach my goals.

I LOVE pandas. I would do anything to have a panda. Now, I share a love for horses with my mom. I have gone to a horse camp and have been able to ride a few times at a nearby ranch. One day, I would love to own a ranch with my very own horses. I learned how to care for a horse at horse camp and learned the different riding techniques. I’ve been told by my instructor that I catch on pretty fast, so maybe that means I may also compete in horse shows too!

Although I specifically love pandas and horses, I really do have a love for animals in general. I hope to be able to, one day, work with animals. Who knows, maybe become a vet- erinarian! I’m still young and exploring the things I enjoy and love to do!! So, I’m sure I will have that all figured out when I grow up!!!