Students Rising AboveBy Christin Ayers

by Christin Ayers and Jennifer Mistrot

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The classroom is Hina-o-holeva Filimoehala-Egan’s fun space. Hina, as she likes to be called, spent her summer as a teaching intern at 826 Valencia in San Francisco. The educational non-profit serves under-resourced students. It’s a job Hina loves.

“The reason why, I guess academics was really important in my life,” recalled Hina. “Cause for me, going to school was like mostly the most stable thing, like within my life.”

LEARN MORE: Students Rising Above

Hina’s parents split up when she was small. Her mom moved out and suddenly her dad was a single parent.

“He really, like, wanted us to have the best that we possibly could,” said Hina. “So there was a lot of tough love going on in my household.”

Teen-aged Hina, always a good student, rebelled against the household’s strict rules, and her grades slipped.

“I kind of fell off,” recalled Hina. “And I remember getting my first C but like not caring about it.”

Hina found comfort in sports and took up wrestling. And she found support in Students Rising Above.

“They helped me see who I was and who I wanted to be,” said Hina. “I felt like I could actually rely on people, and it’s not just one person, it’s a group of people. It’s a family to me.”

SRA inspired Hina to improve her grades, graduate High School and apply for college. During her recent internship, the rising junior impressed 826 Valencia’s Programs Manager Kathleen Rodriguez with her classroom skills.

“Her {students} understand what the expectations are,” said Rodriguez. “She’s really great about offering them positive reinforcement when they are doing a great job.”

Being positive is big part of Hina’s success, and it’s something she wants to share with others.

“And so any way I can give back, is like, what I love to do,” said Hina. “I love helping people.”