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Published: June 2, 2022

2022 $1,000 College Scholarship Winner

We are delighted to announce the recipient of our 2022 $1,000 college scholarship.

Please join us in congratulating our winner, Kaila Labra!

Thank you to everyone who submitted their essays for consideration. We received many inspiring and thoughtful entries this year from students around the world.

Meet our Winner:

Kaila Labra is currently a senior at Kamehameha High School in Hawaii. She is a highly motivated and dedicated student with the intention of majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice as a future freshman at Oregon State University. Hardworking and driven, Kaila is determined to graduate college with a bachelor's degree before applying to law school for her Juris Doctor degree. She intends to work towards her career goal of becoming a Juvenile Justice Lawyer to advocate for youth and justice in government.

Over the past four years, Kaila has worked ambitiously to follow her passions and achieve her academic goals. At Kamehameha Schools, she has taken a six year-long course to hone her skills in Hawaiian, becoming one of the few students in her year to be fluent in the Hawaiian language. Kaila also holds several titles in Speech and Debate, representing her school as a State and National qualifier in International Extemporaneous Speaking and Public Forum Debate.

Kaila’s hometown is Kapolei, Hawaii as she originates from humble beginnings in a family of public and civil servants. She has followed in the footsteps of her parents and grandparents and spent a great deal of her time volunteering and attempting to make a difference within her community.

Kaila, from all of us at IVLA, we wish you the best of luck as you embark on this new and exciting journey at Oregon State University.  Congratulations on all of your accomplishments!

Kaila Labra

Read Kaila’s outstanding essay below:

Paddle Towards a Better Future

During the summer of freshman year, my intermediate coach recruited me to paddle with his club Olelo O Ke Ola. I spent months practicing every day with five other girls that quickly became family. These girls brought warmth and love that I never thought I could experience outside of my relatives. They confided in me their heart-wrenching stories, seeking comfort from a friend and sister. Each one of these girls came from broken homes where “the system” had failed them in one way or another. Some were in the foster care system and living in low-income housing, another lived in single-parent homes due to incarceration.

It was their struggles that made me realize how little our community does for children in these unfortunate situations. Our Hawai'i legal system continues to fail our youth as it did with these girls. Their voices need to be heard and my love for them motivated me to seek a better solution. I founded a club that would allow students to find their voice and empower them to make a difference; thus, our Kamehameha Schools Advocacy Club was created in 2019. Advocating for women empowerment, LGBTQ + equality, Hawaiian representation, and racial justice, our club serves to create awareness and change within these issues. Submitting legislative testimonies, organizing events, and voicing youth concerns to state organizations is just a start. This club has given students the power to make a change for those that can’t and the ability to express their views in a safe environment. In the past two years our club membership has grown from 10 to 80 students and our organization is thriving.

In the future, I plan to achieve my dream of becoming a juvenile justice lawyer. My passion for advocacy and my love for my family continue to drive me towards my dreams. They have made me who I am and who I plan to become. I hope that, as a lawyer, I can become a leader in my community that youth can turn to for help. As the next generation, we need to create a world where our youth can prosper, providing a voice to those who are underrepresented and helping those in need. As a future leader, I plan to work with others to strengthen our communities and secure our place for our future generations. I plan to educate and uplift our Lahui (Hawaiian community) so that others can achieve their dreams, just as I will.

 

We invite you to learn more about Kaila’s extraordinary efforts here:

https://www.kamoi.net/features/2021/10/07/advocacy-club/

https://www.kamoi.net/news/2022/02/28/the-legislative-session-begins/

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