HONOLULU (KHON2) — High schools across Hawaii are celebrating students’ accomplishments and what it took them to get there. Among them is a Waialua student who spoke about what it means to her and her family to be graduating valedictorian this month.

“I come from a family who has a lot of teen parents, and so I was able to break the chain of not having kids in high school,” said Carlie Cabana, who is going to graduate from Waialua High & Intermediate School with honors. “I’m also going to be one of the first in my family to go to college, so it really means a lot to be valedictorian.”

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Cabana said the student body government is what kept her focused on school, and her mom is the one person she looks to for motivation — they now share something unique.

“She had me during her junior year of high school, and so with that, still being able to finish high school is already an accomplishment, but she finished high school with as well as valedictorian and with honors.”

Carlie Cabana, Waialua High & Intermediate School student

Although she had full ride offers from several colleges, Cabana chose to stay near home and go to Hawaii Pacific University where she received many academic scholarships.

Cabana plans to major in business management or business administration and then open up her own business on Oahu.

“I want to stay home and make a name for myself here,” she said.

She made sure her parents heard the good news first because an accomplishment like this was not only for her but also to make her parents proud.

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Cabana is one of eight valedictorians at Waialua. Several high schools are celebrating multiple valedictorians including Hilo High School with 22 students and Waipahu High School with 11 students. Click here for a full list of high school graduations.