“I’ve played soccer for about twelve years, three years on varsity,” says Kamehameha Schools Maui Senior Maile Sur. “And I think the main thing you learn is leadership and teamwork. Before you get the ball or after you pass that ball, you’re relying on the other ten people on the field and trying to get everyone riled up to continue to persevere and make sure that you guys are all working for the same goal.”
Kamehameha Schools Maui High School Principal Jay-R Kaʻawa says that, “She’s very committed and very determined to grow in every way she can, because she’s set goals for herself, and she knows what she wants, and how she’s going to meet those goals.”
This drive to kūlia i ka nuʻu has shaped Maile’s approach to her work on the field, having participated in two state tournament soccer teams, including the 2014 Maui Interscholastic League champions. And now, she applies that same approach in her journalism studies.
“When Maile started with journalism in her junior year, she was already a go-getter. She came in, she knew what she wanted to do, and she knew what she wanted to get out of the program,” says Kamehameha Schools Maui Journalism Teacher, Kye Haina. “By the end of her first year in journalism, she also knew that she wanted to take the program further than it was to cater to her interests, which is more towards the visual arts side, layouts, and magazines.”
Driven by this passion and her desire to hoʻomau, to continue developing a particular skillset, Maile created an online magazine as her senior project, named Nā Koa, which won her the Superior Award for photo portrait at the Journalism Education Association national convention in Denver. This well received publication was recently added to the journalism course at Kamehameha Maui and adds to the wide range of topics that the students feature in their various publications.
According to Kaʻawa, “She’s a student that takes charge and likes to lead and organize different class events and activities and, even at times, is willing to push the envelope. All of those are qualities that you would want to see in a student that wants to be a journalist.”
Maile has become a role model of success for the award-winning Ka Leo o Nā Koa newspaper, writing 62 stories in the past two school year, and was named the most valuable staffer within those years. She was also recently honored as the Hawai‘i State Journalist of the Year. These achievements come from Maile’s dedication to pursue excellence. This mindset now sets her up for success in college.
“I’ve connected with college professors and I’ve gotten scholarship opportunities, and job opportunities that without journalism and without all the hard work I wouldn’t have gotten,” says Sur.
“We have a bright future ahead of us with students like Maile, who puts others before herself, looking at the greater whole, looking at our community, globally minded, and a Hawaiian leader that’s willing to take charge and willing to take lead,” says Kaʻawa. “It’s really gratifying for a principal like me to be able to witness and experience that.”
Maile Sur will dual-enroll at Lane Community College and the University of Oregon and will be studying Journalism and Advertising.