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What makes Lahaina Strong?

By Staff | May 14, 2020

LAHAINA – Here are the winning entries in the “What Makes Lahaina Strong Keiki Kafe” writing contest.

Students were asked to express “What makes Lahaina Strong” in 100 words or less.

The winner in the elementary school category is Maui Preparatory Academy third-grader Ryder Leone, who wrote:

Our ohana: Our ohana makes Lahaina strong, because we all look out for each other and we have each other’s backs. For example, when the Lahaina fire came, we let people stay in our homes when their houses were burned.

Our spirit of Aloha: Another thing that makes Lahaina strong is our spirit of aloha. I see aloha for each other, for visitors to our island, and for our environment. The aloha we have for our ohana and our community is what makes us so strong.

I’m so thankful to be part of this amazing community.


Kayla Mabalot Del Castillo, a seventh-grader at Lahaina Intermediate School, captured first place in this category for “Till the Day We Reunite.”

“You’re gonna miss us, right?” “As if!”

There’s a little emotion behind every, “I don’t care.”

“So after this, it’s all over…”


There’s a little decline behind every acceptance.

“Bryson? Kayla? Are you gonna be okay…?”

“Yeah! We’re proud of you all.”

“We’ll wait till the day we will all reunite.”

There’s a little pain behind every “I’m fine!”

Tears cascaded everyone’s faces. Together, a group of true dedication and love was made. Over 4 years of friendship… Here they are going on their separate paths.

We’ll wait for you.

What makes Lahaina strong are the connections we make.


Sophomore Katy Hussey was the Lahainaluna High School winner for “What makes Lahaina Strong?”

What makes Lahaina strong? I believe Lahaina is strong because we stand together in the face of problems. We communicate with one another and help each other out in dire situations. Now this help may be donating supplies, time, money, or it can even be just coming out to support one another. We may not be a big community, but we are a great one! We stand together and help one another out. And in my opinion, that’s what makes Lahaina Strong.