Celebrate our 2018 graduates: Social issues spark interest in political career

  • Rowlie Flores

Rowlie Flores, 18

Hometown: Naalehu

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GPA: 4.1

Plans after high school? I’m going to Georgetown (University) in Washington, D.C., and I’m planning to study government. I’m hoping to go to law school afterward and I also aspire to become a politician one day. I’m hoping to run for either state House or maybe Congress.

What draws your interest in politics? My sophomore year (being part of) my school club Youth and Government there was a path (within) that club for public policy and making a change in social justice. Issues like racism really (resonated with) me as a person of color. And I’ve watched a lot of the news and seen how issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and issues with equality affect us here now. (For example) Native Hawaiians getting paid less than other races.

And in Ka‘u, we’re overlooked as a small community and I feel like we need more opportunities in such a rural area in terms of education and creating jobs.

What was your reaction when you learned you had been accepted to Georgetown? It was very shocking. It was such a reach school for me and it’s one of the top 20 (in the country). It’s very exciting but it’s kind of scary at the same time. I’m still in shock it happened. I’m excited to finally kind of experience new things but it’s also very sad (to leave). Ka‘u is very close to my heart.

Extracurricular activities/hobbies? I ran cross-country for three years, track for four years and played soccer for four years. I also participated in Youth and Government for three years and National Honor Society for three years. Right now, I’m also part of the Hawaii State Student Council where we meet once per month in Honolulu and discuss issues in our school, district and on the island. Every public high school in the state has a student representative (on the council).

I’m also really active on social media (such as) Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. That’s how I get in contact with my friends. And I also like watching Netflix.

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Favorite subject in school? I really like history, just learning about how human life has transformed from before and you can kind of tie that back to your own experiences today.

Ten years from now, where do you hope to be? I don’t really know. I think before getting my start in politics, I want to campaign for different politicians to get some experience and knowledge first. I might try and work as an analyst first or maybe a staff member for an office.

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