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Miss Teen Hawaii contestants on stage
UH West Oʻahu senior Emalia Pomaialoha Dalire was crowned Miss Hawaiʻi Teen Volunteer in December. (Image courtesy of Mark Salondaka)

As Miss Hawaiʻi Teen Volunteer 2024, University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu student Emalia Pomaialoha Dalire encourages youth to be the best version of themselves—that if they know who they are and where they come from, they will have the confidence to achieve anything.

2 women wearing sashes and holding flowers and two men wearing lei
Dalire, far left, and Kinsler with Miss Hawaiʻi Volunteer directors Larry Nakano and Tony Alcosiba. (Image courtesy of Mark Salondaka)

The 18-year-old Kāneʻohe resident was crowned by the Miss Hawaiʻi Volunteer scholarship program in December 2023. Dalire has been dancing hula since she was two in her family’s hālau, Keolalaulani Hālau ʻOlapa O Laka. She is the daughter of Miss Aloha Hula 1999, Kumu Hula Keolalaulani Dalire, and granddaughter of the first and only Miss Hula, Aloha Dalire.

“I was inspired to run for Miss Hawaiʻi Teen Volunteer because of my haumana (students) at my hālau,” Dalire said. “Working with hundreds of kids in and out of Hawaiʻi, my greatest joy comes from witnessing these children grow into distinguished individuals through their culture. Having a front-row seat to their learning and growth showed me that I have the power to make a difference, not just in my classroom but also in my community.”

Perseverance paid off

Dalire and Kinsler
Dalire, left, with Miss Hawaiʻi Volunteer Makenna Kinsler at the Miss Volunteer America competition in March in Tennessee. (Image courtesy of Emalia Pomaialoha Dalire)

As a freshman at Damien Memorial School, Dalire also began attending Windward Community College, simultaneously taking high school and early college classes. The dual enrollment enabled her to graduate a year early from high school in 2022 at the age of 16, and earn two associate degrees and three certificates of completion from Windward CC that same year.

Now a senior at UH West Oʻahu, Dalire is majoring in business administration with a concentration in marketing, and is on track to graduate with her bachelor’s degree this fall.

“The faculty and nā kumu (teachers) have been immensely understanding and helpful in my journey as Miss Hawaiʻi Teen Volunteer,” Dalire said. “I would like to take this opportunity to give a special shoutout and deepest thank you to one of my professors, who helped me shape my platform’s ‘why.’ The purpose of creating my initiative was to tell others what I wish I was told: ‘You are enough.’”

Both Dalire and her mother were students of Edward Keaunui, a UH West Oʻahu business administration instructor and risk management and insurance coordinator, who also helped Dalire as an interview coach.

“Her perseverance, her stick-to-itiveness, and her hard work are what paid off in her securing the crown for this pageant,” Keaunui said.

Dalire’s official photo for Miss Teen Volunteer America. (Image courtesy of Keolalaulani Dalire)

Empowering her students

Dalire is currently a youth mentor at a nonprofit organization called Laulani, which seeks to inspire and teach children through cultural preservation to embrace their uniqueness and gain life lessons through Hawaiʻi’s culture and traditions.

“I have been building my platform from a young age by instilling vital and empowering life lessons into my students, hoping to set them on a path toward success,” she said. “As Miss Hawaiʻi Teen Volunteer, I continue to do that in my classroom and community.”

Read more at Ka Puna o Kaloʻi.

By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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