Guest speaker motivates through Pono Project

Brannagan Mukaisu, reporter

This year opportunities have been created for McKinley High School students to get motivated through the program called The Pono Project. Shannah Young (12), founder of The Pono Project, and Abha Sharma (12), co-founder of the project, created the program for McKinley students who are “unmotivated” by getting the students involved through the Hawaiian culture

Some activities The Pono Project will be doing are going to visit senior homes, rope course activities at Kualoa ranch, work with the salvation army, and work in lo’is, or taro patches. Throughout the year The Pono Project will bring in motivational speakers such as, Kutmaster Spaz, Katie Chang who is an executive director of the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders, and “many more” said Sharma.

On October 20, the Pono Project brought in an inspirational guest speaker, John Leong, founder of Hawaii youth Conservation Corps (HYCC),to inspire and motivate students. Leong was introduced to the members of the program as someone who has the “desire to build youth’s character,” said Young.

In the beginning of the session, members were asked to introduce themselves, reflect on why they chose to be there, why it is important to help the community, and to find the meaning of Pono . Dustin Siaosi (12) said, Pono means “doing the right thing.”

Leong said Pono means, “being righteous,” “harmony, peace,” and “a way of life.”

Leong said you need “to have a bigger significance to life” and “not just going from one thing to another.” To do this you need to have a destination in mind for your life and be a “strong leader, have a strong set of values and have courage.”

Through the session, Leong also talked about the importance of knowing what your gifts or talents and passions are.

Leong said, “My gift was business and planning” and his passion is loving the environment and the outdoors.

Leong said to “be proactive about the kind of life you want to live.”

Near the end of the session, Leong said The Pono Project program can “Give you a chance to check these things out, you’re going to see some of the things you are passionate about” and teach you how to “Have courage to do the right thing.” L

eong talked about the “characteristics of a good Pono person.” He said the four characteristics are service, courage, discipline, and honesty. The Pono Project is a way to become motivated in school and life by experiencing the Hawaiian culture.

They are accepting members all year long, so if you are interested stop by the Student Activities room on Thursday’s, during lunch to become a part of The Pono Project.