Celebrate our 2018 graduates: Work at HVNP solidifies interest in environmental science

  • Lauren Prudholm

Lauren Prudholm, 17

Hometown: Keaau


GPA: 4.041

Plans after high school? I’m going to attend UH-Hilo for my first year and then (attend) Cornell University in New York under this program called Transfer Option. (Under the program) you enroll somewhere else for a year and if you meet all the requirements, you get a guaranteed transfer to Cornell. Cornell has a lot of students study abroad their sophomore year, so this is one of the ways they accept students who are worthy of getting in but still not over their limit.

My major at UH-Hilo will be environmental science. Once I transfer to Cornell, it will be environmental and sustainability science. I’ve always had a love for nature but once I got into high school, it kind of just bloomed. I joined Peace for the Roots club here at Keaau High School, where we do a lot of activities that help the environment. So that kind of helped me decide. I realized, “Wow, I really enjoy this.”

I also worked at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last summer as a biological science aid. After that, I realized “I really like this, I’m really passionate about this and I love conservation.” From there, I decided to make it my major.

Extracurricular activities/hobbies? I’m vice president of Interact Club here (at Keaau) and I’ve also been in Peace for the Roots club. As a freshman, my friends and I started a newspaper club and created a school newspaper. In my sophomore year, our club was turned into a class and now there’s a newspaper class at our school.

I also played tennis all four years and ran cross-country for two years. Mostly I really like being outdoors and hiking and that kind of stuff.

What’s one life lesson you’ve learned in high school? In high school, I’ve accomplished a lot but I think in college, I’m going to try to focus more on the time I have now instead of worrying so much about homework (for example). Of course it’ll still be important, but I’m going to also try to focus on making friends and enjoying those moments I won’t have in a few years.

Ten years from now, where do you hope to be? That’s a hard question because I haven’t really made up my mind yet. But in 10 years I’d like to have a stable job.

After college, I really want to join the Peace Corps and do some service abroad. I really like traveling and mixing that with the environment and being able to help others sounds super fun. I really like new cultures and learning about the different ways people live. It’s just like the mix of everything, being somewhere new and being able to help someone sounds like a great experience.


Keaau High School’s remaining valedictorians this year are:

John Carlo Galamay, Crismel Juan, Christina Mateo, Madison Pratt, Marley Young and Albert Zuniga.

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