JR-TEEN AMERICAN SCHOLAR 2023-2024
Lilia Iokepa-Guerrero is a Native Hawaiian speaker born and raised in the beautiful valley of
ʻĀhuimanu on the island of Oʻahu in the state of Hawaiʻi. She is a graduate of the Pūnana Leo
o Honolulu and a current high school student of Ke Kula ʻo Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau
Hawaiian Laboratory Charter School. Raised in her Hawaiian language and culture, Lilia is a
practitioner of hula, chant, mele, lei making, Hawaiʻi Budo martial arts, traditional food
preparation, traditional games, and land and ocean stewardship practices. Lilia incorporates
her Hawaiian heritage in all that she does and continues to merge her traditional background
and foundation with her contemporary lifestyle.
Education and learning are very important to Lilia. She is a current Kamehameha Scholar and a
current Hawaiʻiloa student at the Windward Community College. Lilia was accepted into the
early college program in her freshman year in high
school. She is on track to graduate with her Associate's Degree and a number of academic certificates from the college by the time she graduates from high school. Lilia is also a graduate of the Hōʻāʻā Ke Kukui Native Hawaiian Leadership Program; the Kealahou Initiative Young Entrepreneur Program; the Project Hōkūlani Program and Internship incorporating STEM and Hawaiian culture; and the Future Navigators Program learning and using technology to support environmental sustainability. In 2021, Lilia won the Kīpuka Challenge Award for her proposal and development of an interactive game integrating technology, environmental sustainability, and Hawaiian culture; and in 2022 she was the recipient of the E OLA: Empowering ʻŌiwi Leaders Award for her leadership accomplishments. Most recently, Lilia was honored to present at the 2022 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Adelaide, Australia. Her presentations were titled, PAA Hawaiʻi: Developing Hawaiian Youth Leadership from Within the Constructs of ʻOhana and Ola i ka ʻĀina: Sustaining our Ways into the Future with the Resources of our Lands.
Lilia believes in and advocates for Aloha ʻĀina, caring and being loyal to our land. Her personal platform and motto is E Aloha ʻĀina - Care for our land, our ocean, and most of all the people. To this end, she volunteers much of her time to community service. Lilia loves to volunteer her time and provide service to her community. For more than 5 years, she has won the prestigious Presidentʻs Volunteer Service Gold Medal Award for over 100 hours of community service completed annually. In 2019, Lilia was also named a B.R.A.V.E. awardee for her exemplary community service and her positive disposition as a role model for other youth. Probably the biggest contribution to her community is the non-profit organization, Papahana Aloha ʻĀina Hawaiʻi, that Lilia founded. At age 9, Liliaʻs vision was born, and in 2019 the organization was established and incorporated. Her non-profit promotes scholarship and education, stewardship and service, and leadership development for environmental health and sustainability. Lilia believes strongly in the power of aloha. With true aloha anything is