Being an Ambassador for Change


At Nanakuli High and Intermediate, there are a select few students that attend trainings and give back to the community; they represent their academies of study and the school as a whole. These students are the Academy Student Ambassadors (ASA).

In the second semester of the 2021-2022 school year, the Academy Student Ambassadors held monthly meetings as well as led several of the school’s events, including this school year’s freshman orientation.

“Our Student Ambassadors are students who are representatives and promoters of their Programs of Study for their respective academies, and ultimately, a shining representative of NHIS and the Nanakuli Community,” said Monica Yasuda, Director of Academies.

Student Ambassadors must have at least a C in all classes, be a rising 10th, 11th, or 12th grader, have communicational and interpersonal skills, have teacher recommendations, be committed to their duties, and finally, must be nominated by their own peers to be a part of the team.

The Student Ambassadors come from both academies available at NHIS, the Academy of Design and Technology (AoDT) and the Academy of Sustainability (AoS).

Each Academy is led by a teacher lead. David Kaniaupio is the AoDT representative and Leina’ala Salausa is the AoS representative and there are currently over 20 Student Ambassadors.

“I believe it’s important to have a student voice,” said Leinaala Salausa, the teacher leader for the Academy of Sustainability. “It’s difficult to be the person that stands up for everybody else, so I think it takes a lot of courage to do that.”

In the AoDT, there are five Student Ambassadors in Engineering, one in Fashion Design and two in Residential & Commercial Construction.

In the AoS, there are three Student Ambassadors in Business and Health Services, two in Natural Resources, and one in Teaching as a Profession.

Kamryn Titcomb, grade 10, an ASA in the Fashion Design pathway, shared her biggest challenge in being an ambassador. “Nothing really, except for trying to show up to all the meetings.”

The ASAs are responsible for representing the school when it comes to working with guests that visit the school, for this reason, they’ve trained annually since the start of the program last year. 

“The Student Ambassador program is something I wished I would have had in high school,” Kris Elliott, the ASA trainer stated during this year’s training on the 17th of October; “It really benefits the school and the community as a whole.”

During the training, ASAs learned to hone their craft and improved their skills through writing, speaking, and improving; as well as welcomed new ambassadors.

With Kris Elliott, David Kaniaupio, Monica Yasuda, and Leinaala Salausa, the students received praise for their achievements as ASAs, as well as perfected their opening speeches to possible business partners; from everything to introducing themselves to how to act in the midst of disrespect. 

The day ended with a short activity and a “thank you” from all involved; the ASAs are expected to contribute to two more events in this school year so far. 

The Academy Student Ambassadors will continue to help the school through their training, their actions, and their representation of NHIS.