Student Feature - Meenakshi (Meena) Kutty '22
St. Andrew’s Schools takes pride in nurturing the individual talents of its students through a culture of care, respect, love, and service. Priory junior Meena Kutty ’22 takes those values to heart as an up-and-coming artist in the making. An already accomplished actor, musician, studio artist, filmmaker, and the list goes on…Meena embodies the word artist in mind, body, and spirit. Meena took to art at a young age, as she found its creative aspects an effective way of storytelling and a way to properly express herself to others. Her first love of music soon blossomed into other talents of drawing, painting, writing, composing, and much more.
Now, almost a senior in high school, Meena’s love for art did not change, but the stories behind her pieces have deepened and become more meaningful. Her appreciation grew for her home of Hawaiʻi and her education at The Priory. Growing up in Honolulu with immigrant parents from India, Meena learned to appreciate culture in all shapes and forms - how perfect that she calls “the melting pot” of Hawaiʻi home. Meena is a true daughter of The Priory - she was born at Queen’s Hospital, went to Queen Emma Preschool, and then onto The Priory, where she will soon graduate in 2022.
Meena’s gifts and leadership are greatly valued at The Priory and throughout the community. She began playing classical piano when she was only five years old and picked up classical violin when she was nine. Her skills and talents soon landed her a spot with the Hawaiʻi Youth Symphony as a violinist in 2015, where she continues to play to this day. She has been the President of St. Andrew’s Schools’ International Thespian Society since 2019 and voted President of The Priory Theatre Club in 2020. She won a 2020 Poʻokela Award for “Featured Female in a Non-Traditional Play” for her performance in Oriental Faddah and Son at Palikū Theatre, and another 2020 Poʻokela Award for “Best Overall Musical Production” for her performance as the Emcee in Mānoa Valley Theatre’s production of Once. Meena has also participated in a number of film competitions. Her film “Labels” won first place at the ʻŌlelo Youth Xchange Media Competition for “Best Middle School Short Film” in 2018 and she is hoping to submit the film, “Woman Is…” created with St. Andrew’s Schools’ International Thespian Society, for the same competition in March 2021.
So what does this accomplished young woman want to do in the future? As an advocate for integrating arts and culture with education, Meena hopes to become a theatre educator who inspires young people to take learning beyond the classroom. Her extensive background in the arts, her personal relationships with various cultures, and her love for storytelling make her the perfect candidate for educating future generations. Meena said, “The arts connect us as human beings and I want all of us, young and young at heart, to come together and make the future better and brighter.”
St. Andrew’s Schools is proud to have such strong women with a desire to change the world on our campus. Meena is one of many, and we are so proud of them all. Mahalo, Meena, for sharing your story with us. We can’t wait to see what you do next!
Mahalo to Erich Steinwandt and Mānoa Valley Theatre for the picture.