Makena Sakahara ’25

Using the Rhythm and Rhyme of Poetry to Help Others

Makena Sakahara ’25 has always found solace in expressing herself through writing. She began dabbling to share her personal thoughts and emotions – but as her craft evolved, she found it could be used to help others cope with complex problems. “I have always loved to read and write and as I grew older, I began to share my pieces in hopes they could provide insight into myself,” she says. “Now, I hope my poetry provides insight for readers who are also struggling with mental health issues.”

Through this journey, she has completed two books: “I Request A Mental Health Day,” released in 2022, which was drafted to shed light on mental health struggles; and “Shower Thoughts,” just published this December, which delves further into personal growth and imperfection. “I am very vulnerable in my pieces but it is worth putting myself out there if it helps others,” she says. “My style is infused with rhythm and rhyme and meaning between the lines if only to add a fun facade to some depressing or unhappy thoughts.”

Sakahara has had influential mentors along the way, including Academy English faculty Janelle Wells, her former teacher. “Mrs. Wells was a great supporter in my endeavor in writing my first book. Her encouragement of my expressionism through writing and her energy provided extra light at the end of the tunnel.” Expressing hopes for her work, she says, “I hope that my poems provide insights for readers who are struggling with mental health issues, and that others can be inspired to find a healthy outlet and ways to express themselves.”

Beyond writing, Sakahara has also found a passion for technical theater. “Last school year, I helped in the production of six shows, mainly focusing on audio and video design and playback,” she says. “Dillingham Theater has so many great resources and teachers that have helped me develop my skill and passion for behind-the-scenes work that it is now a career path I intend to pursue. Punahou provides so many great opportunities for self-expression and discovery and I’m lucky to have found a niche for myself.”

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