For the second consecutive year, a College of Education student has been selected to speak at the UH Mānoa Commencement Ceremonies. Pualani Armstrong, who will graduate with a BEd in elementary and special education as well as a degree in political science, is the Fall 2015 Commencement Student Speaker. In 2014, fellow elementary education graduate Safiah AbdelJawad was chosen to deliver the spring commencement speech.
“This selection has given me the opportunity to share my manaʻo with the entire graduating class, their friends, and their families on such a monumental occasion,” said Armstrong. “I am honored to have been selected to represent the students on this special day.”
The selection process includes auditions, which are open to all UH Mānoa undergraduates who are candidates for graduation. Students are required to write a speech and perform it before a panel of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Armstrong was selected based upon the content, delivery, and uniqueness of her prepared speech.
The theme of Armstrong’s speech is looking outward. In it, she says graduation is a time to celebrate personal success and give thanks to others, but that it also marks a time of moving forward into the world. A dancer for 20 years, Armstrong was also the 2015 Merrie Monarch Miss Aloha Hula Contestant from Hālau Nā Mamo ʻO Puʻuanahulu. She plans to teach and attend graduate school.
Assistant Professor Jamie Simpson Steele said, “Pua is a creative thinker who cares deeply for Hawaiʻi’s children. Teaching is in her veins, but she goes beyond the act of teaching to engage in the art of teaching. Pua has inspired her own teachers in the past and will go on to inspire her students in the future.”