Kelsey Uehira

Founding student and alumna returns to join IPA’s administrative team

“I feel lucky to call IPA home again!”

That’s the feeling ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY alumna Kelsey Uehira ‘11 has now as she starts in her new position as the school’s Registrar & Student Information Systems Manager.

Uehira started at IPA in 2004, the year the school opened, as a Grade 6 student. She graduated in 2011 as part of the second graduating class of ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY. Returning to campus this November was a true homecoming for her, and she was excited to see many familiar faces.

“I’m very happy to see my former teachers and the staff!” says Uehira. “Mr. Stan, Ms. Eileen, Ms. Shannon, Ms. Momi, Ms. Babas, Ms. Kerri. . . the list goes on!”

For Uehira, IPA has always been a home for her and she knew she would be back at IPA someday. After completing her BA in Art with a minor in American Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Uehira explored her interest in museum conservation work with the Nippu Jiji Photo Collection and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Art Galleries. That experience sparked a desire to work abroad and she found a position with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, taking her to Fukuoka, Japan where she has lived and worked for the past four years.

“I returned to the islands in August 2020 with a desire to continue working in a school environment – and now I’m here at IPA!,” shares Uehira. “Being welcomed back with open arms (or shakas – for now!) has had a huge impact on why I will continue to support IPA. I want students to move forward having this same feeling of ‘home’, knowing that they can always return. IPA has been a special place to me and continues to be one.”

Uehira’s hope is to support the strong community of IPA educators who work to give students the education they deserve, and she is dedicated to serving IPA’s community of students, faculty, and staff and creating positive impacts in the community.

“Dr. Dan White always put forward the phrase ‘Whenever you can, help’,” recalls Uehira. “I find this phrase to be monumental in my life. In university, in Japan, in my new position at IPA – the power of human kindness helps to generate positivity amongst whatever community you are working in.”

“It makes me happy to know that current students are making new memories of a place I am deeply fond of.”

 

Kelsey Uehira '11 with friends from America, U.K, and Australia on JET Program

Kelsey Uehira ’11 with friends from America, U.K, and Australia on JET Program

 

Kelsey picking yame-cha green tea in Fukuoka – one of the top quality teas in Japan!

Kelsey picking yame-cha green tea in Fukuoka – one of the top quality teas in Japan!

 

Kelsey at a kimono event in Fukuoka, Japan.

Kelsey at a kimono event in Fukuoka, Japan.