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Peer Tutoring

Strength & Leadership

Student Focus: Taluasa "Lua" Enoka

Taluasa "Lua" Enoka

Taluasa "Lua" Enoka is a 17-year-old senior at Bremerton High School. Her journey to get where she earned her spot at BHS was not easy. Lua left her beloved home of Fagatogo, American Samoa, to further her education, and her aspirations landed her in Texas. However, she couldn't attend school there due to documentation-related issues. She decided to transfer to Bremerton to be closer to her family, and when Lua entered Bremerton High School as a senior, she was a year behind with credits.

Her goal to graduate on time pushed her to her limits. Her high school counselor doubled up her schedule so she could complete her 11th and 12th grade required credits to make up for the lost time in Texas. With hard work and belief in herself, and with the support of our Navigating Education (NE) team every step of the way, Lua is graduating with the BHS graduation Class of 2024! We are all incredibly proud of Lua for her achievement and conviction that "I can do this!"

As a proud Samoan and dedicated student, Lua enjoys watching K-Dramas, values her Christian faith, and cherishes her family. She first heard about Voices of Pacific Island Nations (VOPIN) through friends and quickly realized the significant impact their programs have on Pacific Islander students and beyond. “VOPIN is a very important organization and it's . . . for not only just Pacific Islanders but also for other students,” Lua shares.

VOPIN has been instrumental in helping Lua stay on track with her schoolwork. “They provide and also helped me with getting back on track with my schoolwork,” she says.

Moreover, VOPIN offers support beyond academics, providing a space for cultural learning and personal advice. “They have helped me with problems outside of school. They give me advice, and they will help me with even schoolwork,” Lua explains.

Lua emphasizes the importance of having more Islander teachers and programs in schools to support Pacific Islander students. “I feel like it would help a lot with the students that often feel like they're more interactive with the people of their own kind,” she notes. VOPIN's inclusive approach is another key aspect Lua appreciates. “They have helped other students that are not Pacific Islanders--not only Pacific Islanders but also other students of Bremerton,” she says. VOPIN provides essential services such as academic support, food, and even therapeutic advice, making it a comprehensive support system for students.

Communication remains a significant challenge for many Pacific Islander students, as English is often not their first language. Lua identifies this as an area needing improvement. “I would say the communication because English is not our first language, and sometimes we don't know certain words,” she explains.

Looking forward, Lua encourages her fellow students to engage with VOPIN. “I would say to bring more students because I feel like there are students that are islanders, and they're shy to come inside the program. I feel like this is an important community for them and an environment that helps them a lot with everything.”

After graduating, Lua plans to move to Utah and work. She is open to wherever life takes her, guided by her faith: “Wherever God takes me, I'll go.” Lua Enoka's journey and experiences highlight the essential role of VOPIN in supporting Pacific Islander students academically, culturally, and personally. Her story is a testament to the positive impact of community-focused, culturally responsive educational programs.