Learning leadership

  • Contributed

    Kallen Wachi of Waimea High School is off to a JROTC leadership seminar next month in Oklahoma.

HANAPEPE — Soon to be Waimea High School senior Kallen Wachi is learning how to lead.

Whether he’ll be going through ranks of the military or take a civilian route after high school is still up in the air, but Wachi is preparing for big things, regardless.

And in July, the cadet battalion commander for the Waimea Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) is headed to Oklahoma the Four Star Leadership with General Tommy Franks program to gain a few more skills.

He’s one of 70 high-school students selected nationwide for the program.

“I believe this is a great way to gain leadership skills with which you can lead a great amount of people,” Wachi said Wednesday in a phone interview with The Garden Island.

Wachi grew up on the Westside, went to Kekaha School before attending Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. Though he and his family live in Hanapepe now, he decided to go back to Waimea for high school.

“The reason I went back to the Westside was because of Junior ROTC,” Wachi said. “We have a good ROTC instructor, Major Victor Aguilar, he acts like a second father to a lot of our cadets.”

It was Aguilar who introduced the Waimea cadets to the possibility of applying for the Four Star Leadership program with Tommy Franks.

The program’s mantra is “Character. Common vision. Communication. Caring”. It’s a five-day event that includes speechmaking and writing, an Ethics Bowl, research and solution-building, and chats with international leaders.

Speakers in the 2019 session include retired U.S. Army General Tommy Franks, former Miss Oklahoma 2017 Triana Browne, former Minister for Justice and Law Reform for the Irish Government Dermot Ahern, former “Amazing Race’ contestant Jet McCoy and Oklahoma Senate Majority Floor Leader Senator Mike Schulz.

Wachi said he’s looking forward to learning more about leadership from speakers, engaging with international students and learning how to work with people on a large-scale.

He’ll be in Oklahoma July 14-19 for the program and is the only student from Hawaii on the 2019 list.


Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.


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