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Updated: May 14

In 2023, ʻOAKA released an article addressing the deficit narrative that proclaims, 'The best and brightest of Hawaiʻi are all leaving.' Now, in 2024, we remain steadfast in our commitment to counter this narrative through a series of spotlights that celebrate the talents and successes of youth on Hawaiʻi Island.


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

Join us in extending a warm welcome to our inaugural spotlight youth, Aria Marie!

Aria Marie, aged 21, was raised in Waimea on the Island of Hawaiʻi. She is currently pursuing a degree in biology from the University of Hawaiʻi and works for a Native Hawaiian wellness clinic as a research assistant on the west side. In her spare time, Aria enjoys writing as a form of self-expression. Recently, she launched a blog to share her work with others.

"I’m an avid writer, committed to sharing the inner dimensions of my mind and heart. For me, writing is the most beautiful thing that I will never be able to leash; it’s an outlet where imagination runs wild and my soul is free. My writing focuses on love and healing; however, it sometimes unleashes a morbid theme. I believe in being an honest writer despite the fear of being vulnerable.


My safe place and my preferred place to write is near the makai (ocean) or in a car watching the sunset. Writing in my journal has always been and will forever stay a beloved hobby. If you’re ever interested in diving into a world of dramatic heartbreak or heart-throbbing short stories, you're welcome to check out my blog.


On the flip side, I am also wildly passionate about science. I currently study biology at the University of Hawaiʻi. It took me a while to find a major I actually enjoyed, as I started out studying sustainability, but as soon as the gears clicked, I became increasingly excited to continue my educational journey. I love the ocean and am interested in exploring marine biology and conservation at UH Mānoa.


You are only limited to what you limit yourself to. As a writer and a soon-to-be biologist, I strive to be an example that you can do or be whatever your heart desires, as long as you believe in yourself and your dreams."



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