WAIMEA – An educator for 21 years, Waimea High School teacher Ginny Hori has
encouraged students to do their best and keep an eye out for the
Five years ago, Hori stepped up her efforts in this vein by joining
the National Youth Leadership Forum, a Washington, D.C-based organization that
helps students plan their careers.
Over the last five years, Hori has
nominated 23 students to attend forums on the mainland where they have met
industry leaders in law, medicine, defense, intelligence and diplomacy.
the forums, the students are challenged to solve problems and are encouraged to
become leaders. In general, the students return to Kaua’i with a better
understanding of what careers in their chosen fields might be all about, Hori
Donna Weldin, executive director of National Youth Leadership Forum,
has high praise for Hori’s work.
“To really look into the eyes of young
people and to help them figure out some of the things they do best and what
profession they wish to pursue is above the call of duty,” Weldin
This year, Hori nominated three students to attend forums. One was an
18-year-old graduate with a 3.8 grade point average, has leadership qualities,
was a member of the school’s debate team and wants to be a lawyer, Hori said.
Also nominated is a 16-year-old junior with a 3.9 gpa who has leadership
qualities and wants to become a veterinarian. The student plans to attend
Hawaii Pacific University and major in pre-med before going to veterinary
The students covered their own travel cost to the forums in Los
Angeles and Chicago. A third student was nominated to attend a forum but chose
not to attend, Hori said.
Hori said she got involved with the program five
yeas ago because she wanted to enhance career opportunities for students at
“Because we are such a small place doesn’t mean that they
cannot go further,” Hori said. “We encourage them to step out of their comfort
zone to better themselves.”
The forums also offered a way for students to
begin networking with students from across the nation and with
Hori selects students on the basis of their leadership
qualities, academic accomplishments and desire to enter a particular field.
Hori said she reviews the academic records of students when they were
junior and seniors, consults with their counselors, reviews high school
transcripts and talks with the students about their goals and dreams.
they have returned from the forums, Hori works with students on a college that
suits their needs and their pocketbook. If money is a major obstacle, Hori will
help them seek out scholarships.
Hori has worked as a peer education
program coordinator at the West Kaua’i high school for 11 years. During her
career, she also worked three years at Kapa’a High School and as a physical
education resource teacher at West Kaua’i schools for seven years.
teaches students who make presentations on self-esteem, drug awareness,
pregnancy, sexual assault, decison-making, listening skills and medication
The presentations are made at the high school and at Waimea
Canyon, Kekaha, ‘Ele’ele, Kalaheo and Koloa elementary schools.
she would encourage other teachers in the school district to get involved with
the National Youth Leadership Forum.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time, and
the rewards are so great,” Hori said.
This year, more than 11,000 students
were expected to participate in forums on law, medicine, defense., intelligence
The leadership forum is a non-partisan, non-profit
educational organization. Additional information is available at
Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681
(ext. 225) or [