What Aloha Means To Me

With every hello, goodbye, and I love you, I am reminded of the diversity and togetherness of my culture. “Aloha” will never be constrained by one singular meaning, rather embraced by an infinite number.

As a young girl, walking into my grandmother’s house brought excitement and learning experiences. She always greets me with a warm hug and says “aloha” to embody the way of life in Hawaii. At the time, I only recognized the saying as “hello” since it is the direct translation from the Hawaiian language to English. But with time and maturity I’ve learned that “aloha” takes on many different forms based on varying perspectives. I realized that my grandmother was not just greeting me but telling me that she loves me. At the end of our visits, I know that when she communicates through Hawaiian expressions, she brings us together and proclaims her love for me.

In modern society, several aspects of American diversity experiences cultural appropriation. A newfound Chicago restaurant has put claims down of enforcing a trademark on the words “aloha” and “poke”. The Hawaiian culture and the word “aloha” will not be degraded by the capitalization of the American government. With such an enormous backlash from all sides to the restaurant owner, it exemplifies the Hawaiian community and demonstrates the idea that “aloha” is represented through people rather than a restaurant chain. “Aloha” is not confined by trademark laws, ultimately hindering its ability to have infinite meanings for a variety of people. The Hawaiian language, like all languages, is meant to be shared and spread across the nation without fear of being sued due to a trademark. 

The word and expression of “aloha” represent numerous statements to reflect the collectiveness of the Hawaiian community and the wealth of generosity provided by society. 

The true meaning of “ALOHA” is community. 

Ho'omaika'i 'ana ia 'oe to Connor Filbert, our 2019 Essay Scholarship winner!  He received the scholarship at our September 2019 General Membership Meeting and is attending Arizona State University; see his winning essay below

What Aloha Means to Me

What does Aloha mean to me? Well to me, Aloha is whoever I am thankful for and whoever has been there for me even if it was only a short period of time. As said the Reverend Abraham Akaka noted, on March 13, 1959, “Aloha is the power of God, seeking to unite what is separated in the world, the power that unites heart with heart, soul with soul, life with life, culture with culture, race with race, nation with nation, and man with woman.”  Aloha is a very special word to me and helps me think of the ones closest to me. 

When I was born, I was diagnosed with a heart condition known as Atrial Septal Defect or ASD. ASD means I had a hole in my heart that grew to be about 24-25 mm big, which is huge for a baby's heart. To put this in proportion, I had about ¼ of my heart open in my chest. Thankfully, when I was two years old, the doctors and nurses were able to find a non-evasive way of healing me. They made a small cut through the femoral vein in my right leg and guided a 24 mm Amplatzer Septal Occluder device through the vein and into my heart to close the hole. To this day, I see a cardiologist annually to check my heart to make sure that everything is going well. Because of the specialized surgery, my heart is healed.

Those doctors and nurses who were able to heal me are what the meaning of Aloha is to me. I am so thankful for what they were able to do. Not only did they Aloha me, but my family who were there throughout the whole thing. I don't remember this happening, but I know that they loved me and were making sure that I was doing amazing.  

So what does Aloha mean to me? As Reverend Akaka said, "Aloha seeks to promote the true good of others."  To me, what Reverand Akaka said means all the people who were there for me, not only during my heart operation but also throughout my life. My family, friends, teachers, and even coaches have all taught me the actual meaning of Aloha. And for that, I say Aloha to them because I know that all of us are heart to heart. I know that we all have God within us to bring the spirit of Aloha to life.

Essay Scholarship

   Eligibility: All high school seniors, current students attending a University or College, and Technical/Trade School students.  Should a student

  win the scholarship, they must attend the College, University, or Technical/Trade school as full-time students.

  Scholarships in the amount of $500 will be awarded individually to the winning recipient(s).

  General: All applications (click LVHCC Education Form 101 to get the updated 2019 form) and documents identified on the application 

  will be submitted to the LVHCC Education Committee at P.O. Box 97891 Las Vegas, NV 89193-7891.  Use the back of the application if

  more space is needed.  The Education Committee will review all application packages and recommend award of the scholarship to the most

  qualified applicant.

  Grade Point Average (GPA): All applicants shall have a minimum GPA of 2.5 – 2.7 cumulative unweighted (upon graduation from High

  School and for the current school year in other learning institutions for all others).

  The application period is closed for this year.  

   The scholarship application period and new award date are under development; the estimated opening is not earlier than late November 2019.

  The scholarship awardee should plan to attend two LVHCC functions during the academic year in support of the LVHCC scholarship program.

  For example, attending a General Membership Meeting and letting those in attendance know what they have been doing and how the

  scholarship assisted their education.

  Verification of college enrollment (class schedule) will be required before any monies are disbursed.  Scholarship funds are normally applied

  toward tuition, fees and other appropriate educational expenses.

 Contact LVHCC for additional information on Scholarships
 Email: lasvegashcc@gmail.com