A Pre-K through Grade 12 Coordinate School Located in Honolulu

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Spotlight on Olivia Stoetzer '19

Olivia Stoetzer’s perspective on life shifted dramatically after a recent service-learning trip to Cambodia. Her time spent among the people of the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula left an indelible impression on Olivia. “It fueled my passion to become more involved in both my community and world politics. In the future, I hope to be involved with an international political body that works to combat world problems,” the Student Body President recalls. With the financial support of The Stephen E. and Isabella H. Stevens World Peace Foundation, Olivia was able to have the first-hand experience in Cambodia as well as attend Model UN conferences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois. Each experience nurtured Olivia’s keen interest in government affairs and the laws that govern our country.

This past summer, Olivia began paving the way for a future in international relations by interning in Senator Brian Taniguchi’s office. Olivia lives in Senator Taniguchi’s district. Her duties included a variety of research projects that meant extensive time in the State Archives for a deeper dive into the various issues she was charged with investigating. On one occasion, Olivia met with individuals working on international affairs related to treaties and climate change, especially related to island countries in the Pacific. Three Micronesians countries within the Compact of Free Association (COFA), along with the U.S. Pacific Command, service academies West Point and the US Naval Academy were involved in the discussions.

“I was impressed with the initiative Olivia took in contacting the Senator this past Spring and volunteering to be an intern at the Capitol for the summer,” recalls Tom Heinrich, Legislative Assistant to Senator Brian Taniguchi. “She has a keen interest in international affairs and a strong curiosity to explore how people and legislatures work to address issues. It was an absolute joy to work with her, and by her performance, the Senator has invited Olivia to continue to work on projects as her schedule allows.”

We interviewed Olivia to learn more about her inspirations, aspirations, and next steps.

What is the source of your inspiration?

My social science teachers, Ms. Robinson and Ms. Field, have been strong and are passionate about the subject they teach. I have taken classes like Model United Nations, Global Girls, and am involved in student government.

I was not too happy with the way the presidential election played out. After the inauguration, I would wake up every day to hear extremely disheartening news about legislation passed that I had no control over. With Priory in the City, grades 10-12 had the chance to attend a conference on the bills that state woman legislators were trying to push for the upcoming session. When they opened up the floor for questions, I rose my hand. I explained to the representatives and senators that I was feeling helpless and out of control. Pieces of legislation were being passed that hurt my family and friends and there was nothing I could do about it. I asked what I could do to make a change. One of the senators told me to get involved in government or through a political party.

Since I was too young to gain membership to a political party, I instead decided that I wanted to pursue an internship at the capitol over the summer. I emailed my local senator and representative and asked to intern at their office so I could learn more about government and making a change.

I have learned more about the legislative process through different documentation styles and stories from Senate members. I am so excited to use these procedural methods within my own council this fall.

How will you contribute to the greater good?

I am so excited to be serving as the president of High School Student Council this year. I have a team of leaders who have already started working hard this summer. We have a lot of great ideas that we hope to implement within daily school life.

The coming years will give me a better idea of what I can accomplish and the goals I can reach. I would love to volunteer and travel all around the world. There is so much to learn, see, and viewpoints to experience.

You are the living legacy of Queen Emma’s mission to educate girls. How do you feel about that responsibility?

All of the students at St. Andrew’s Schools have accomplished so much and have definitely fulfilled Queen Emma’s mission. Not only are we learning life skills, but we are also discovering are own passions and what we can do to make a difference in the world.

What politicians/legislators inspire you most?

The Obama family has inspired me and those around me over the past 8 years. In particular, Michelle Obama has a special place in my heart. As First Lady, she devoted herself to projects that align with my own passions, like educating girls. She is not just a wife of a president, but an accomplished woman herself. I have worked to incorporate Michelle’s family motto, “When they go low, we go high,” into my own life and with the people around me.

What do you hope to achieve within the next 10 years?

I hope to gain both a Bachelors and Masters degree in International Relations. After I finish college, I would like to enter the Peace Corps and volunteer in another part of the world. Though I do not know the specifics of what will happen after that, I would like to work in international politics and to make a change for others. I will see what adventures await me.

What do you hope for, for future generations of girls?

For my Independent Research project through Global Girls, I researched the impacts that an education can have on a girl. What my research partner and I found was that world problems, like hunger and poverty, could be solved by giving girls the same access to education as boys. I hope that future generations of girls will stand up for injustice and seek equality. We need more woman in power to look up to, and hopefully a woman president soon!

The Priory has given me a place where gender inequality never gets in my way. We have the power and zeal to accomplish anything we want to. Work hard for your dreams and never let your gender stop you.

What three adjectives might other people use to describe your personality?

Responsible, passionate, humorous.

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