A Portland native, Kavapalu is the daughter of Kato Kavapalu and the late Ofa Kavapalu. Kavapalu’s father passed away in July of 2008. The high school senior and student body president has two older sisters Helen Kavapalu and Milika Hopoi. She hopes to become a professional airline pilot.
“I plan to earn a degree in aviation,” said Kavapalu. “I play volleyball, basketball and participate in track and field. I’m also in the Madison Symphonic Band where I play the trombone. I love to sing while playing my ukulele. I’ve performed at every multicultural assembly since the eighth grade. Growing up, my family traveled throughout the West Coast and across the Pacific Ocean and that traveling inspired me to become a pilot.”
Kavapulu’s favorite Rose Festival event is the Starlight Parade.
“When I was little, I believed the Rose princesses were actual Disney princesses, because of the way they presented themselves,” said Kavapalu. “Crossing the bridges from West Portland to East Portland has got to be my favorite place to visit in the city. Portland’s skyline is one to never forget, especially at night.”
Kariuki’s mentor from Unitus Community Credit Union is Char Sears.