10 WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE:
Kalena Santos and Brayden Mohica-Cummings
Kauai student’s lineage
at center of controversy
Second of ten parts
Kalena Santos says that when she and her son, Brayden Mohica-Cummings, filled out his application for the Kamehameha Schools earlier this year, they were not seeking to overturn the school's century-old mission of educating children of native Hawaiian ancestry.
They just wanted to get the best education.
Some fought controversial battles. Others made headlines or worked quietly behind the scenes. But all made an impact on Hawaii in 2003 and are thus recognized as the Star-Bulletin's 10 who made a difference.
The Kauai seventh-grader, a non-Hawaiian, was allowed to attend Kamehameha Schools under a temporary federal court order in August after he and his mother filed a lawsuit.
The court order prompted thousands of native Hawaiians to march in protest and added fuel to the heated debate over native Hawaiian entitlements and rights.
Santos and Brayden generated additional controversy in November when they agreed to drop their lawsuit after Brayden was allowed to attend the Kamehameha Schools through the 12th grade.
For the estate, the settlement was a strategic compromise that allows it to focus on its defense of its admission policy, which is the subject of a separate lawsuit by an unnamed non-Hawaiian student.
For Brayden and his mother, the pact represents vindication. In his ruling approving the settlement last month, U.S. District Judge David Ezra commented that Santos did not "knowingly lie" on her son's application.
Santos, who was adopted by a Hawaiian man when she was a child, stated on her son's application that he was Hawaiian.
The school initially accepted Brayden, but campus administrators later rescinded the award after Santos was unable to document her son's Hawaiian lineage.
Ezra, citing a 40-year-old state Supreme Court case, said that Santos' adoption may qualify her and her son as Hawaiians and that Brayden may be eligible for admission into the Kamehameha Schools.
"I'm glad he set the record straight," Santos said last month. "We're very proud that we are Hawaiians."