HONOLULU – One teenager throws “Back to School” parties to welcome new students from military families to the islands, and another devotes an endless amount of hours at a dance studio and at events designed to bring awareness to the fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. For their outstanding efforts in giving back to their communities, Alexandra Skrocki, 17, of Admiral Arthur W. Radford High and Kaytlen Akau, 13, of Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Lihue (Kauai), have been selected as 2015 Hawaii state winners by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.
Alexandra, a senior, hosts an annual “Back to the School Teen Party” in her backyard to welcome new students from military families and to ease their anxiety about starting at a new school. Her father Tom is a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and the family moved to Oahu from Fairfax County, Virginia in 2010. Radford is her eighth school she’s attended over the last 13 years. With that experience of being the “new kid on the block,” Alexandra has spent the last four years in trying to make the transition easier for students with activities such as home-cooked meals for single airmen, mentoring children of deployed parents, and baking holiday cookies for men and women on active duty.
Kaytlen, an eighth-grader at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, volunteers at her dance studio on the weekends training youngsters between the ages of 3 and 10. Last summer, she also served as a junior leader supervising children in a county parks and recreation enrichment program. For the past several years, Kaytlen has also participated with her family in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and as a new Girl Scout, she assisted with a walk to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Alexandra and Kaytlen are excellent examples of the kind of community-minded individuals we strive to produce within our schools,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We congratulate them on their deserving honor and appreciate their contributions to enhancing the lives of others.”
As state honorees, Alexandra and Kaytlen each will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expenses-paid trip in May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. At the D.C. events, 10 students from the state winners will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2015.
In 2013, Michael-Logan Jordan, who was a student at Kailua Intermediate at that time, was selected at the national event as one of the country’s best youth volunteers.
About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is among the largest U.S. school districts and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 180,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840. The DOE is in the midst of a range of historic efforts to transform its public education system to ensure graduates succeed in college or careers. Learn about our Milestones in Transformation.