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Priory Student Uses Summer Break to Launch Start-Up
Elizabeth McDonnell

This summer, Priory student Hannah Moses and our K-12 Wellness Director, Mara Garcia, were invited to participate in the Nalukai Academy summer program, an intensive leadership program for high school students focused on technological, cultural, and social entrepreneurship.  

Moses, after applying to the Academy last year, was invited to the summer session as a “founder”, the term Nalukai Academy uses for its students to empower them. Garcia, who previously served on Nalukai's Leadership Team refining curriculum and programmatic objectives, joined as a facilitator. Her primary role was to develop opportunities for introspection and reflection with founders, as well as, to observe group dynamics and support students in positive communication. 

During the summer leadership sessions at Nalukai, students are provided with guidance from industry leaders, innovative educators, and cultural practitioners who help students craft their own startups and pitch their ideas to an audience of venture capitalists, peers, and local business owners at the end of the camp. 

Hannah Moses and her team of founders created a start-up called Ulucomposting with the mission of “decreasing Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions by offering personal composting solutions.” Moses, the team’s project manager, along with four other students, created Ulu in response to the growing need for greenhouse gas solutions. “If food were a country,” the business’ Instagram page states, “it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.”

“I think the amazing magic of Nalukai is the way in which the program is able to create a space where founders’ full selves are welcomed and encouraged to shine. It is from this place that we engage in rigorous content and the founders develop their team venture.” Garcia reflected.  

After students created their unique businesses, managing everything from developing the business mission to the product launch and all the website marketing and social media needs in between, student founders gave presentations to local experts and received feedback on their start-ups. 

“We created Ulu in order to spread the word about composting through a fundamental, creative, and nice-looking personal composter,” Moses and Ulu founders explained during the July 16th academy presentations to local experts. “We hope to better our environment in order to keep our planet healthy and inhabitable.” 

Moses and her team received glowing reviews and excellent feedback to take away from the summer. She concluded after the event, “I learned that there is no such thing as failure. At Nalukai, we learned that you can always bounce back, pivot, learn from the experience, and ask others for help. I've learned so much through the lectures and talks Nalukai provided and will definitely apply this knowledge to my academic and personal life.”


Follow Moses' business, Ulu, on Instagram or on Facebook.