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Waianae student Harvard-bound; 1st since 1980


HONOLULU — A graduating high school senior from one of Hawaii’s poorest areas is headed to Harvard University.

Kahunui Foster plans to be the first Waianae High School graduate to attend the prestigious college since 1980.

The 18-year-old graduates Friday from the oceanfront high school with a 4.0 grade point average. She’s one of 11 valedictorians and is involved in the famed Searider Productions program.

Her counselor Shane Nakamura says Foster’s acceptance to Harvard is an inspiration for a high school struggling to increase its college enrollment rate.

Waianae’s college enrollment rate last year was 36 percent, compared with 54 percent statewide.

Foster says she wants to be a role model to show Waianae students they’re capable of attending college.

Because of her financial need, she gets to attend Harvard for free.