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Our series of ʻōpio spotlights highlight some of Hawaiʻi Island's strengths and serves to redefine success, proving that the best and brightest aren't leaving—they're contributing, leading, and making a significant impact in our communities.

Samantha Māpuana Rapoza, 24, was born and raised in Kaʻūmana on Moku o Keawe. She graduated from Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi in 2018 and went on to receive her Bachelor’s degree, and most recently, her Master of Teaching degree, from Pacific University in Oregon. Her journey and passion for education has led her back to her alma mater, where she will be teaching high school English Language Arts.


"I have always been passionate about education as I truly believe it is one of the most powerful tools kanaka can use to empower and uplift our lāhui and highlight Native Hawaiian voices and moʻolelo. I have been blessed with an amazing education my entire life, and my decision on pursuing teaching as a career is because I want to give back and help ensure that all keiki receive a good, impactful education that sets them up for a successful future."

"When I graduated with my undergraduate degree in 2022, I was planning on living in Oregon with no idea when I would move back to Hawaiʻi. Looking back now, I am thankful that I remained home as it reminded me of my goals and purpose. Moving away for college was an experience I will forever treasure as it expanded my perspective of the world and the people in it, but Hawaiʻi is home. The places that inspire me are here. The people that inspire me are here. The change I want to make is here."

"I will continue to use both my roles as an educator and an entrepreneur to focus on my goal of inspiring future leaders of Hawaiʻi to use literacy and creativity in their everyday lives to create change for themselves, their ʻohana, their communities, and their lāhui."



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