Celebrate our 2018 graduates: History buff, jazz musician plans to pursue law degree

  • Zhanelyn Cacho

Zhanelyn Cacho, 17

Hometown: Honokaa


GPA: 4.113

Plans after high school? I plan to enroll at Georgetown University and major in international relations on the prelaw track. So, hopefully I’ll become a government lawyer of some kind working in foreign policy.

I really like history. I took (Advanced Placement U.S. history) my sophomore year and I’m involved in a lot of leadership. I wanted to do something where I could promote the community and advocate for underrepresented people and people from a low socioeconomic background. So, I wanted to (pursue a career) where I could help people and be directly influential.

Extracurricular activities/hobbies? I really love playing in our jazz band. I’ve been playing six years. I also really like photography. And I also play tenor saxophone and violin in our strings program. And I like to write.

I was the first in the state to participate in (Health Occupations Students of America) without my own school and I actually placed international two years in a row. I’m also the National Honor Society president and I’m in the student body leadership and government. I also participate in the Ka Hana Noeau program and I’ve participated in robotics since I was in the eighth grade.

Ten years from now, where do you hope to be? I see myself working at a law firm on Oahu and hopefully working on public policy. I hope to actually work on the 100 percent renewable energy (legislation) for 2045. The goal is for Hawaii to be 100 percent renewable by 2045. I participated in an environmental program about a year ago and (it) discussed implementing electric vehicles more in the public transportation system. I thought it was interesting and I wanted to be part of it. Also, our school has a really good agricultural program and I think it’s important to take care of our environment.

Advice for next year’s incoming freshmen students? I would say to explore your options, be brave and take the classes you think will challenge you. Be open basically and take opportunities when they come. Something valuable I’ve learned is perception. You can always change your perception and make every situation your own, basically. You don’t have to think of something in a bad way, it can be good. There were a lot of situations in high school where I had to stop and think “I don’t have to react this way, I can always turn it around and be grateful instead of angry.”


Honokaa High’s remaining valedictorians this year are:

Lori May Yvette Acob, Roland Afaga Jr., Jennifer Kennedy, Rod Neil Burbano and Conner Chamberlain. Honokaa’s salutatorian is Kayla Gray.

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