Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

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Program Builds Confidence, Dreams for At-Risk Students

March 20, 2015
Nanakuli Performing Arts Center

Robin Kitsu, a 2001 Milken Educator Award winner from Hawaii, has created a life-changing performing arts program for students—many of whom have faced roadblocks like poverty and substance abuse.

March 20, 2015

By Rebekah Schilperoort

Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, tucked away in a small community on the west side of O‘ahu, at one time had the reputation of being the “worst” school in the state. But Robin Kitsu’s (HI ’01) work leading an after-school program – the Nanakuli Performing Arts Center (NPAC) – has turned that around for countless students.

Since he started the center nearly 25 years ago, Kitsu has tirelessly coordinated program funding, schedules and performances. Students in grades 4 through 12 from across the region voluntarily participate in performance areas like drama, multimedia and video production. 

His students have won state and national awards for their plays, newspaper and video news program – all of this in a school where the drop-out and poverty rates are high. 

An astonishing 90 percent of students who participate in NPAC graduate from high school and go on to higher education.


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