Hoʻokuʻi III: Na Kumu Alakaʻi



History and Goal

In 2007 Mr. Eugene McElroy recognized a need to support Native Hawaiian students, particularly those living in rural areas, to gain access to postsecondary education. He approached Dr. Kelly Roberts about addressing this need. Dr. Roberts, and the original team, worked towards increasing access to postsecondary education and certification programs with a particular focus on Native Hawaiian and at-risk high school students. They did this with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Native Hawaiian Education Program (Award # S362A090051). Thus, Project Hoʻokuʻi began in 2009 on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Maui, and Molokaʻi. Hoʻokuʻi utilized the early enrollment programs already in place, which at the time were not serving many Native Hawaiian students.

In 2014, Hoʻokuʻi II was funded by the Native Hawaiian Education Program (Award # S362A140067), and was refined and expanded to include the islands of Oʻahu and Lānaʻi. During this time, the State of Hawaii Department of Education, in partnership with the University of Hawaii System and other partners, created P20, focusing on early college opportunities for all Hawaii Department of Education high school students. In the spirit of collaboration and aloha, we all worked together to benefit Hawaii’s na keiki.

The goal of Project Hoʻokuʻi III: Na Kumu Alakaʻi (Award# S362A180010) is the formalization of Project Hoʻokuʻi I and II, which successfully supported over 1,000 Native Hawaiian students, students with disabilities, and other at-risk students, towards postsecondary transition at 28 high schools. The formalization includes working collaboratively with the Hawaii Department of Education faculty and staff by training them on the essential skills and elements that made Hoʻokuʻi I and Hoʻokuʻi II successful.

How To Join 

Project Hoʻokuʻi will help high school freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors meet the academic qualifications to participate and succeed in the Running Start and Early Admission college programs. Running Start and Early Admission are statewide partnerships between the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (HIDOE) and the University of Hawaiʻi system that provide an opportunity for academically qualified juniors and seniors to begin their postsecondary education while still in high school.

Call For Inquiry

(808) 956-5680

Mail For Inquiry










Project Partner

Hawaiinuiākea, School of Hawaiian Knowledge

University of Hawaii at Manoa
Native Hawaiian Student Services
Willy Kauai, Ph.D., M.A., Director

Dr. Kauai grew up in Ulupalakua, Maui, and acquired his Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He is the Director of Native Hawaiian Student Services and is the consultant to the project.


Mālama Kumu – Saturday, February 23, 2019

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, Hawaii Department of Education faculty began their first in-person professional development class with Project Hoʻokuʻi III: Na Kumu Alakaʻi on the island of Oʻahu. The island of Oʻahu is fittingly known as “the gathering place.” The...

Project Team

Lisa Uyehara, JD

PI & Director

(808) 956-5680

Kiriko Takahashi, PhD


(808) 956-4457

Kaveh Abhari, PhD


(808) 956-3982
abhari@hawaii.edu |abhari.info

Naomi Rombaoa Tanaka, MS

Online Learning Platform & Curriculum Coordinator

(808) 956-3433

Site coordinators

Molokai, Lanai, Maui

Caryl Hitchcock, Ph.D.

East Hawaii

Nicole Olayon, M.S.

West Hawaii

Iwalani McCalla, B.A.

Oahu, Kauai

Lisa Uyehara, JD





Get In Touch

Location:  1410 Lower Campus Rd,  Bldg 171F, Honolulu, HI 96826

Telephone: (808) 956-5680

Email: uyeharal@hawaii.edu


Project Hookui was made possible by Grant Number S362A180010 from the U.S. Department of Education.

The content of this website does not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Education.