Kana Walsh: High Schooler Works Toward Changing the World

By Leslie Cranford (“TTU K-12 High Schooler Works Toward Changing the World, Part 2 of 2,” Texas Tech U Newsletter, 11 Nov. 2020).

In the September issue of “Wherever You Are” TTU K‑12 introduced you to Kana Walsh. Here’s the rest of her story, but we’re certain she’ll be doing and creating more exciting things in the future!

Kana Walsh spends much of her time involved in projects to make the world a better place. One of them is advocating for the Day of the Girl, recognized globally each year on Oct. 11. The other is taking part in Model United Nations competitions in the U.S. and in Geneva, Switzerland.

Kana is an American Red Cross National Outreach Coordinator.

Without a flexible school situation, Kana says she would not have the free time to pursue endeavors that are important to her. 

“One of the benefits of TTU K‑12 compared to regular school is that it is very flexible. The teachers are understanding, and I am able to go at a faster pace than I would normally at a regular school,” she explained. “I am also able to do my work, without complications, even when I am traveling. That has been really important since the COVID-19 pandemic started.”

Kana says another thing she appreciates about attending TTU K‑12 is that she is able to explore various subjects, science being a self-admitted favorite.

“TTU K‑12 allows me to explore different topics related to science. I was able to broaden my understanding of subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics, all the way to learning about scientists like Dmitri Mendeleev, Marie Curie and Isaac Newton,” she added.

Kana Walsh shares the beauty of her home state.

Getting back to her extracurricular involvement, Kana also says TTU K‑12 helped to prepare her for them by giving her the skills required to succeed in those projects.

“For example, both my English and Investigating Careers classes helped to prepare me for public speaking. In my Investigating Careers class when I was learning about the different career clusters, I was fascinated to explore the Health Science Cluster. I want to become an emergency physician when I am older,” she said. “TTU K‑12 gave me a platform off of which I was able to grow and engage others in projects that are important to me.”

Another of Kana’s goals is to create more mapathons targeting youth participants because she wants to increase youth participation in humanitarian actions.

“Humanitarian mapping is one way to do it. I also want girls to be given the same opportunities as boys. That is why I have been working so hard to get the Day of the Girl recognized by the State of Hawai’i.”

Kana makes media headlines promoting National Day of the Girl.

Her efforts made statewide news. After having worked three years to get officials to recognize that date and what it stands for, Kana succeeded in getting Oct. 11, 2020 recognized by the governor of Hawaii as Day of the Girl. She is now working with State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro to introduce a bill in the next session to make the recognition permanent.

Kana is working with State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro to introduce a bill in the next session to make the Day of the Girl recognition permanent.

Kana also is an active participant in Model United Nations competitions around the world, including major global competitions in Geneva and New York. She explained that this is an academic simulation of what the United Nations is like. Participants are given a real-world problem that they must solve through the perspective of the country that they were assigned. In Geneva she was the youngest participant.

“I was 12 when I participated in the UA-MUNC in Geneva,” she said. “The participants ranged from ages 12-29. The training took four days, and we actually got to go into the UN Headquarters. We had a small tour of the building, and even got to eat in the staff cafeteria. After that, the real debates took place. There was a lot of negotiation and eventually consensus. The whole experience was so amazing and helped me to practice and develop my research, public speaking, teamwork, negotiation and writing skills.”

Kana’s project gets statewide media coverage.

Again, without the flexibility afforded by schooling through Texas Tech University High School, on her own schedule, Kana says much of this would have been impossible.

“My experience being a student at TTU K‑12 has been great. All of my teachers are very welcoming and nice. They help answer any questions that I have and are very flexible and cooperative when it comes to making adjustments to certain assignments due to the pandemic,” she explained. “The curriculum is very constructive and informative, and that has allowed me to develop an understanding of various subjects.”

For other students enrolled in TTU K‑12, she says they should not be afraid to ask questions.

“More importantly, they should take advantage of the amazing opportunity that they have been given – the chance to use their knowledge to change the world,” Kana advised.

And take it from her – she’s doing it!

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