Charissa Puamana Wai`alea is a student at Leeward CC who hails from Ewa Beach, O`ahu. She’s currently majoring in Liberal Arts but will double-major in Hawaiian Studies and Science at the University of Hawai’i -Mānoa. She plans to earn a degree in Hawaiian studies for personal enrichment and will major in some sort of science to eventually become a veterinarian.
About her poem, Ku’u Hawai’i, Charissa writes:
I want people to know that our culture is our identity and that we should never lose it. for without it, we will lose ourselves. As Hawaiians, we need to be proud of and value our culture, our people and our lands and never forget the greatness from which we come from!”
Eō! Her poem won a Ka ‘Umeke Kā’eo Native Hawaiian Writing Achievement Award in Fall 2011.