Thompson selected for INSPIRE Pre-College Program


Photo by Quinn Williams

Senior Kaylee Thompson is the only student from Kamehameha Schools accepted for the INSPIRE pre-college program for native high school students.

By Quinn Williams, news writer

Senior Kaylee Thompson will be spending part of her summer in Washington, D.C., among other students nationwide. She was selected to partake in the Native American Political Leadership Program‘s  INSPIRE Pre-College Program in Washington, DC, this summer.

“Although I’m not particularly interested in becoming a politician, it’s a really good opportunity for me to understand where the natives in the United States stand,” she said.

INSPIRE is an experiential undergraduate program open to Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian juniors and seniors that offers students opportunities to meet and interview influential native advocates in DC.

“Its a way for me to understand where Hawaii is and where the Native Americans are so that I can bring more international awareness,” Thompson said.

The program was open to high school juniors and seniors and recent graduates who may be interested. Participants live on the George Washington University campus and will be taught by their faculty throughout the 3-week summer program, all expenses paid, thanks to a grant by the AT & T Foundation. It is the equivalent of the 3-credit GW undergraduate course, Native Politics and the American Political System.

“I don’t think itʻs [native issues] really known worldwide, the native issues are known between the native groups in the United States, but not really worldwide,” Thompson said.

Thompson was recommended to this program by Ms. Priscilla Mikell, the Kamehameha Maui internship counselor.

To qualify, she also submitted a 350-word essay, high school transcript and proof of Native Hawaiian status.

According to their website, students were chosen “based on evidence of academic ability, leadership potential, and an interest in public service.”

“That’s why she wanted to apply, that she wants to be able to, when she’s back, be able to advocate for Native Americans and Native Hawaiian people,” said Ms. Mikell.

Thompson is the only student to represent all campuses of Kamehameha Schools at the program this summer.

In the fall, she will be studying international relations at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan.