Our History

Our co-founders are: Olin Lagon and Donavan Kealoha. They brought on third co-founder Kelsey Amos.

Our first board members were Levi Hoʻokano and Nāpali Souza, who were quickly joined by Kamuela Enos.

Our first kumu was Bill Evangelista. Bill taught at Jarrett Middle School’s Kūlia All-Stars, working with Charles Nguyen of DevLeague and aided by Kimberly Peterson and Caitlin Falls.

We added board member Forest Frizzell.

Our second kumu was Marion Ano. We taught at Kamaile Academy and Stevenson Middle School. We added kumu David Pickett to work with Hui Mālama Learning Center on Maui. We had help from Kanani. Kumu Keahi joined us.

We worked with Ka Waihona, Hālau Kū Māna, the Sullivan Center, PACT, Pauoa Elementary, Kapolei High School, Farrington High School, Hālau ʻĪnana, Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Ānuenue, Kailua High School, Waiʻanae High School, Hālau ʻIke o Puʻuloa, KUPU, Boys and Girls Club Hawaiʻi, Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Our kokua were kumu Kelela Moʻo, kumu Makayla Yanos, kumu Brian Mayeshiro, Ashlynn Miyashiro, kumu Ikaika Hussey, Karen Tanigawa, Davin Carvalho, Daniel Thipphavong, Kaliko Adams, Sean Hite, Shane Tajima.

We brought on board members Blaine Kahoʻonei, Martha Evans, and Elena Farden.

We brought on kumu Sheldon Abril on Hawaiʻi Island. We were joined by kumu Joe Baranowski and kumu Jenny Estrella on Maui.

Our kokua were Rachelle Mansilungan, kumu Nate Nahina, kumu Kahea Hendrickson, Keanu Freitas, kumu Kurt Noe, Jeannie Ramelb, Keola Chang, and kumu Jouveth Cotte.

Mike Sarmiento, Alec Wagner, and Kalei Akau joined the team.

About the name Purple Mai’a

Maiʻa means “banana” ma ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. One of our co-founders, Donavan, came up with the name Purple Maiʻa, which combines English and Hawaiian words and references the purple flower of the banana tree. Purple is the rarest color in nature, reminding us to seek out the “purple-ness” in our haumāna–the things that make each student rare and unique.

Our History



Our co-founders are: Olin Lagon and Donavan Kealoha. They brought on third co-founder Kelsey Amos.

Our first board members were Levi Hoʻokano and Nāpali Souza, who were quickly joined by Kamuela Enos.

Our first kumu was Bill Evangelista. Bill taught at Jarrett Middle School’s Kūlia All-Stars, working with Charles Nguyen of DevLeague and aided by Kimberly Peterson and Caitlin Falls.

We added board member Forest Frizzell.

Our second kumu was Marion Ano. We taught at Kamaile Academy and Stevenson Middle School. We added kumu David Pickett to work with Hui Mālama Learning Center on Maui. We had help from Kanani. Kumu Keahi joined us.

We worked with Ka Waihona, Hālau Kū Māna, the Sullivan Center, PACT, Pauoa Elementary, Kapolei High School, Farrington High School, Hālau ʻĪnana, Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Ānuenue, Kailua High School, Waiʻanae High School, Hālau ʻIke o Puʻuloa, KUPU, Boys and Girls Club Hawaiʻi, Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Our kokua were kumu Kelela Moʻo, kumu Makayla Yanos, kumu Brian Mayeshiro, Ashlynn Miyashiro, kumu Ikaika Hussey, Karen Tanigawa, Davin Carvalho, Daniel Thipphavong, Kaliko Adams, Sean Hite, Shane Tajima.

We brought on board members Blaine Kahoʻonei, Martha Evans, and Elena Farden.

We brought on kumu Sheldon Abril on Hawaiʻi Island. We were joined by kumu Joe Baranowski and kumu Jenny Estrella on Maui.

Our kokua were Rachelle Mansilungan, kumu Nate Nahina, kumu Kahea Hendrickson, Keanu Freitas, kumu Kurt Noe, Jeannie Ramelb, Keola Chang, and kumu Jouveth Cotte.

Mike Sarmiento, Alec Wagner, and Kalei Akau joined the team.

About the name Purple Mai’a

Maiʻa means “banana” ma ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. One of our co-founders, Donavan, came up with the name Purple Maiʻa, which combines English and Hawaiian words and references the purple flower of the banana tree. Purple is the rarest color in nature, reminding us to seek out the “purple-ness” in our haumāna–the things that make each student rare and unique.

Our Team

Marion Ano

Kumu

KEAHI SELHORST

Kumu

BILL EVANGELISTA

Kumu

Manu Mei-Singh

Kaikaina Project Manager

DAVID PICKETT

Kumu

DONAVAN KEALOHA

CO-FOUNDER, Executive Director

OLIN LAGON

CO-FOUNDER, Advisor

KELSEY AMOS

CO-FOUNDER, Director

KAMUELA ENOS

BOARD MEMBER

FOREST FRIZZELL

BOARD MEMBER

NĀPALI SOUZA

Ex-Officio BOARD MEMBER

Levi Hoʻokano

Ex-Officio Board Member

MARTHA EVANS

BOARD MEMBER

BLAINE KAHOʻONEI

BOARD MEMBER

Jenny Estrella

Kumu

Joe Baranowski

KUMU

KELELA MOO

Kumu

Brian Mayeshiro

Kokua

Ashlynn Miyashiro

Designer, Kokua

Sheldon Abril

Kumu

ELENA FARDEN

Board Member

Alec Wagner

Director, Purple Prize

Kalei Akau

Documentarian, Purple Prize

Rachelle Mansilungan

Kumu

Jouveth Cotte

Kumu

Nate Nahina

Kumu

MAHALO TO OUR SUPPORTERS & PARTNERS

We mahalo nui all of the generous and supportive organizations and
individuals who make it possible for Purple Mai’a to do its work.