Aiea High School teacher receives “Grow Our Own Teachers Initiative” tuition stipend

Encourages others to pursue teaching in Hawaii

Sponsored by UH System and the Hawaii State Department of Education

Keola Kalani is a Hawaii Department of Education emergency hire who received a “Grow Our Own Teachers Initiative” tuition stipend. He is pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Teacher Education while teaching Hawaiian language, history, culture, and hula at Aiea High School, his alma mater.

“I realized after I discerned the Catholic priesthood for a year and three months that I was being called to become an educator, not a Catholic priest,” Kalani explains. “My discernment process helped me to clearly see and understand what my vocation in this life is and what it is not. My realization of my vocation as an educator was solidified after my grandmother, Betty Kalani, passed away in 2017.”

Kalani is passionate about his students and the subjects he teaches.

“My grand-uncles encouraged me to find a career I enjoy so that I never work a day in my life — I found it,” he says.

The “Grow Our Own Teachers Initiative” is a partnership between Hawaii Department of Education and the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Education and is an opportunity to qualify for stipends.

Kalani says the tuition stipend was not a deciding factor for him when it came to pursing his Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Teacher Education, but it came when he least expected it and he is forever grateful.

Kalani says he always recommends a major in education to his students. He even recommends the program to his friends and family!

About Keola Kalani:
Kalani was born on Oʻahu and raised in Waimalu where he still resides. He attended Waimalu Elementary school, ʻAiea Intermediate, and ʻAiea High. He attended UH Mānoa Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies where he graduated with a BA. He withdrew from the MA Hawaiian Studies program at Kamakakūokalani in order to enter the College of Education’s Grow Our Own initiative and solidify his vocation as an educator of Hawaiian Language and Hula.