The National Honor Society at Hawaii Baptist Academy has many committees, each prioritizing a different issue that they hope to tackle in the community.

For example, “Kupuna Kare” is a committee that helps out the elderly, the “Animal Committee” focuses on helping animals, and “Hope for the Homeless” works to provides aid to homeless people. 

Senior Jolie Wong is the co-chair of the “Together Everyone Achieves More” school committee, also known as the TEAM Committee for School. Her group focuses on HBA faculty appreciation and service. They also collaborate with other NHS committees on projects and spend a lot of time brainstorming ways to serve the school community. “During my first year in the NHS, I became curious about the planning and organizing process. Although volunteering and simply following the directions of the committee chairs was fun, I found interest in the leadership aspect. My friend, Miya, showed interest in co-charing, so the choice [to lead a committee] was easy.” said Wong.

The committee’s goal is “to best serve our school and those who support it, while giving NHS members chances to grow and work with others.” Upcoming events including an annual teacher and faculty appreciation lunch. This will be Wong’s last year on the committee. “I hope to finish the experience with more collaboration skills, patience, and creativity,” Wong said. 

Caylie Takahashi, also a senior, is the co-chair of the Animal Committee. The group’s goal is to spread awareness of animal abuse, neglect and abandonment. “It was a good opportunity to develop my leadership, organization, and communication skills. I wanted to better myself as a person and be more outgoing,” Takahashi said. The group reaches out to non-profit organizations to set up volunteer opportunities for students. They recently held a fundraiser for the Aloha Animal Sanctuary and also took part in volunteer days there. The committee has a few upcoming events, including a volunteer appreciation project with the Hawaiian Humane Society, where they will write appreciation cards for volunteers. “We want [the volunteers] to know that their job is making a lot of change within society for the better,” said Takahashi.  “We are waiting for [the Humane Society] to send us the list of names of the workers, but if that doesn’t work out, then we may set up a volunteer day at the Honolulu Zoo or somewhere else.”

Helping out the Hope for the Homeless Committee is senior and co-chair Noelle Nagaishi. She is also the president of the NHS. Last year, Nagaishi was the club’s corresponding secretary. “I really enjoyed the experience and gained experience from being an officer, so I wanted to challenge myself to run for a higher officer position,” Nagaishi said. As an officer for the Hope for the Homeless Committee, Nagaishi hopes to “reach out to the public and support local homeless organizations and people.” Currently, the committee is planning to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen during the upcoming Spring Break. “I hope to learn more about my community and gain some leadership experience. Although I’m still learning as I go, I hope that I can be someone that the NHS members can trust and listen to, and I also hope that I can help them in any way that I can,” she said.

Senior Ella Lim (’23), co-chair of the Kupuna Care committee, chats with a resident at a care home they visited recently. Photograph courtesy of the Kupuna Care committee.

Senior Ella Lim is the co-chair of the Kupuna Kare committee. The Kupuna Kare committee “recognizes that nursing residents can feel lonely at times, and seeks to remind the residents that young people still look up to them and love them.” Lim said, “When I first accepted this role, I didn’t know what to expect, but I am so grateful to say it has been a wonderful experience.” The NHS president at the time asked Lim to co-chair Kupuna Kare because she had been on the committee as a sophomore. Lim is grateful for the opportunity to lead because it has pushed her outside of her comfort zone. One of the committee’s upcoming events is to deliver Easter care packages to a nursing home. In the past years, the committee has worked with the Care Center of Honolulu and the Kuakini Geriatric Care Home. This year, the committee visited residents at the Furukawa Living Treasure, a care home close to HBA. “Going further, I hope to always find ways to become better as a leader and as an NHS member. I also hope to bless many residents this year in whatever way, shape, or form that comes in,” Lim said. “Working with our kupuna and those that run the nursing homes has truly been one of my biggest blessings in high school.”

Sean Aoyagi, the school registrar, is the advisor for the National Honor Society. He shared that his role has allowed him to interact with many students. “I have the chance to talk and get to know them more and to watch how hard they work at service events,” said Aoyagi. “There are plenty of positive moments and moments where they could reflect and gain encouragement from. I want to thank each NHS member for their service and dedication.”

Aoyagi hopes that his student leaders will develop habits of growth, success, and maturity. “The most important thing that I’ve seen the last two years as their advisor is the growth in leadership and service that our NHS members have shown. I’ve also seen them face adversity and strive, achieve, and meet their goals in the midst of it. We’ve had many positive moments and some teachable moments, but there are plenty of moments where I am super proud of their leadership and commitment to their events,” he said.