Our Islands, Our Future

With Christmas presents unwrapped, Maui’s youth turned toward sharing the gifts they’d like to see unfold in their community in 2013.

On education:

“We should pay our teachers more, much more. Teachers are the key to the future for all of us,” said Duncan, 15, of Haiku. Demi, 18, of Wailuku seems to agree that teachers are key to improving education. “I would like to see better quality teachers get hired over quantity so that the money can be spent on keeping kids in school.” Lola, 16, of Kihei added, “I would like to see Maui widen the opportunities for students in a variety of interesting fields such as engineering, literature and the sciences. I don’t think there are enough AP (Advanced Placement) classes in my school compared to other schools on the Mainland.”

On cultural preservation:

Kaitlin, 17, of Upcountry, Maui remarked, “Makawao just got a new bus stop with cowboys on top. Little things like this are easy ways to show and emulate my hometown’s country culture.” Alisha, 17, of Paia, said the variety of cultures on island makes Maui a unique place to live and worth preserving. “To preserve this unique culture, the state and county should encourage and support organizations that promote the education of our island culture.” Lola felt that Hawaiiana courses help to bring cultural awareness. But the discussion needs to expand. “I feel as though Hawaii would benefit toward having educational conversations in the injustices from the past. We should be talking about how to reconcile the past while dealing with our present and moving forward as a community.”

On protecting the natural environment:

Duncan suggested, “Do everything we can to preserve the reefs before they die and plant more forests to help the watersheds.” Lola suggested government officials ensure easy access to beaches and the mountains. “I really enjoy our clean beaches and our safe hiking trails. We really need to keep it up.” Kaitlin said she’s been privileged to grow up on Maui and see “the beauties Mother Earth intended us to see. It is the duty of the Maui community to keep its ocean blue and its mountains green by limiting our pollution and using resources wisely.”

Happy New Year 2013!