Our Islands, Our Future

Two thoughtful and concerned students from Baldwin High School launched a campaign to promote a Pledge To Our Keiki. Through the pledge, senior Anica Ancheta, the Hawaiʻi State Student Council Representative, senior Penelope Tupou, the Baldwin Student Body President, and their advisor, Student Activities Coordinator Donna Vierra, are working hard to have students, their families, locals, and visitors preserve and protect Hawaiʻi’s environment and culture.

Ancheta explained, “Working with student leaders and ambassadors from across the state is how we implement important opportunities at our own schools. I learned about Pledge to Our Keiki, a statewide initiative, at one of the Hawaiʻi State Student Council leadership workshops and immediately knew I wanted to bring it to my school and island. In addition, I knew I wanted to make a difference.”

The Pledge was modeled on the success of the Palau Pledge, a commitment to personal action towards environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism. The Palau Pledge amassed over 900,000 signatories and the support of major global organizations, including the UN, the World Economic Forum, and Greenpeace. In Pledge To Our Keiki, the student leaders of Hawaiʻi are asking their communities to pledge to their future. It’s a commitment to show up, volunteer, donate, and strengthen our ability to respond to unforeseen challenges. The pledge is also a platform for every school and nonprofit in Hawaiʻi to help Maui recover and rebuild. It empowers student leaders to shine a light on their creativity and gives them a sense of responsibility that focuses on the culture and environment.

Tupou added, “When I read the pledge, I realized this is something I want to be part of because I truly believe in it. A statement in the pledge that inspired me is: ‘From our children we learn that Hawaiʻi is not just inherited from our ancestors, but borrowed from our future generations’. This inspired me to pursue a career in civil engineering. I want to develop sustainable infrastructures and projects on Maui that can help us adapt and be more resilient towards climate change and whatever may come our way. It’s about letting our keiki know that we care now about their future.”

Working together, we can create waves of positive change. Anica Ancheta, Baldwin H.S. Hawaiʻi State Student Council Representative Penelope Tupou, Baldwin H.S. Student Body President