By: William Devereaux
As the Head of School at La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls, Mahina Eleneki Hugo leads by example. Competitive by nature and a leader at heart, Mahina effortlessly connects with people, building lasting relationships and promising futures for her students.
In her college years, Mahina was an ‘Ahahui Koa Ānuenue (AKA) scholarship recipient. She was a standout athlete on the 1987 NCAA Championship Rainbow Wahine Volleyball team who was considered an underdog on the court. In fact, her entire team was not taken as seriously as they should have been. In the end, they earned the respect and redemption they deserved.
Mahina mentioned that because she wasn’t nearly as tall as some of her competitors, she played with a different style and mindset. She said, “I learned to play with discipline, was unafraid of taking risks, and was always thinking on my feet.”
These abilities come into play as the Head of School at La Pietra on a daily basis. She mentioned that no day is the same, and thinking on her toes is essential to rapid problem solving.
She is comfortable in her role as a leader as long as she follows three simple guidelines she has learned through athletics. “I have found that as a team leader you must first set expectations, provide resources for the job then outline benchmarks,” Hugo said.
With her positive attitude and contagious smile, it is no mystery this Head of School is so well liked on campus. “You absolutely have to have humor,” said Mahina, “I’m usually the one who cracks a joke to keep our school meetings light.”
Like many of her students, Mahina would not have been able to afford a college education had it not been for the scholarship she received through AKA. Today Mahina serves as a successful role model for “her” girls at La Pietra. Donations to AKA help all of our student-athletes stand tall and are investments in the next generation of leaders in Hawaii.