Speaking with Kamehameha’s Set of Triplets

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Courtesy of the Ross family

It is no easy feat to be accepted into Kamehameha Schools as an individual, but for triplets to be accepted is almost unheard of. Here is their stories

Kaimele Kop, Staff Reporter

One in 8,100 births is triplets according to Live Science.

 

According to KS Admissions and Program Enrollment, for the 7th-grade entry, there are 176 available spaces for an average of 1,200 applicants. For 9th grade, there are 130 available spaces for an average of 900 applicants.

 

What are the odds that triplets, Kiana, Kolby, and Kyla all attend Kamehameha Schools? More popularly known as Kamoana, Keaouli, and Kahi, the triplets are currently seniors. As they prepare to graduate soon, Ka Mōʻī wanted to reach out and discuss the experiences they have faced being triplets.

 

Keaouli and Kahi began attending Kamehameha in 7th grade, while Kamoana attended King Intermediate. Kamoana says, “I was sad at first because it was the first time we would be apart, but I learned how to become more independent at a different school and I had friends there to help me through it.” In 9th grade, Kamoana was accepted to KS and at last, the triplets were together again. Throughout high school, the triplets remained studious students taking Honors, Advanced Placement, and Dual Credit courses while succeeding in different extracurricular activities. Speech plays a large part in Kahi’s life, as she is the Vice-President of KS Speech and Debate team. Keaouli excels in Debate as a state qualifier for Public Forum Debate since freshman year. Kamoana has a more artistic approach to life, focusing on photography and art. Kamoana and Kahi are also the editors in chief on the school’s yearbook staff.

 

The triplets agree they have been close all their lives and have spent the past 18 years together.

After graduation, the triplets plan to attend universities in the state of Washington. Kamoana has already committed to Central Washington University, planning to major in film. Kahi has committed to Washington State University and will be studying nursing. Keaouli is currently deciding between the University of Washington and Washington State University where he hopes to study law.

 

What stereotype of triplets do you get tired of hearing?

 

Keaouli: The stereotype I get tired of hearing is “So you guys do everything together/are you competitive with everything/can you guys read each other’s minds.” No, we don’t, I am my own person.

Kahi: I guess when they slap one of us and then ask the other two if we can feel it.

 

What are people’s reactions when they find out you are triplets?

 

Kamoana: When people find out we’re triplets they’re always like, “Wait, WHAT?! That’s crazy. So you all have the same birthday?”

Keaouli: Every time someone finds out they gasp and go “WOW” and then they ask when we’re born and who was born first and then they [parents] make a comment about how hard it was for them to have one kid and how our mom must have gone through a lot.

Kahi: They’re like “Oh my God! Are you guys identical?” And then they ask each of us our birthdays but mostly they’re just shocked or they’re like your poor mom.

 

What’s the most difficult thing about being a triplet?

 

Kamoana: The most difficult thing would probably be being compared to each other.

Keaouli: The most difficult thing is taking the blame for everything related to being sick or dirty or something since I’m the only boy I get blamed for it all. Also, I’m the one that has to do hard labor with mowing the lawn, fixing stuff, and killing roaches. It’s a hard knock life. Case in point: I had to miss the Hunchback play to change the flooring at our house.

Kahi: I honestly don’t think it’s difficult being a triplet. We have our fights and our ups and downs sometimes but at the end of the day they’re my best friends and we’re there for each other no matter what. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

Ka Mōʻī had the chance to speak with Aunty Noe, the mother of the triplets.

 

What notable differences did you notice between the triplets as they grew up?

 

Even though they don’t look alike, people still get them confused, well, the girls at least. I imagine it’s frustrating for them because people don’t understand they aren’t clones of each other. They have different tastes, different personalities and yes, different heights. Many people ask why Kamoana is 5’8” and her sister is 5’11 and brother is 6’2.  Clearly, they’re not identical.

 

My trio has literally been friends since birth. They were born a minute apart and have always been connected to one another in some way.

 

Keaouli was a typical rough and tumble boy enjoying outdoor play more than indoor. Over time, he became the talkative one with a natural knack for humor and wit which has allowed him to be the spokesperson for their group.  His name, KeaoulīhakuʻiaekeAkua, means the heavenly expanse as called by God and his easy-going character is certainly reflective of that.

 

Kamoana’s interests are music and art. As a toddler, she would hum to herself while creatively stacking blocks or doodling a flower. She has a beautiful voice; however, you’d never find her singing in front of an audience.  Her name, KamoanaikapaʻiaekeAkua, means the ocean as named by God and interestingly, she’s always loved the water.

 

Kahi is truly her namesake. Her full name, KahimaloʻoihakuʻiaekeAkua, means the earth as called by God. She is a grounding force for others, always with a nurturing, compassionate heart to care for them. Although she is the last born of the trio, she is very protective of her brother and sister.  As a young child, you could always find her helping her siblings by feeding them, comforting them when they were sad and even putting band-aids on their owies.

 

As my trio prepares for their next phase of life, their desire for independence remains strong and is reflective of their college choices.  Despite selecting different schools, they feel at ease knowing they’re still near one another.  I’m excited to see what this new journey will bring.

 

Did you do/have to do anything specific to help them individualize themselves?

 

As their mom, I’ve always pushed each of my children to find something that they individually enjoy and are uniquely passionate about. While I support their attempts to participate in activities as a group, I continue to encourage them to pursue their own interests. The line between maintaining individuality and still being a tight-knit trio is a tricky one, but they’ve each learned to walk that line easily and use their independence as a tool. Oftentimes, fostering their own senses of identity comes down to reminding friends and family, through their unique passions and personalities, that they are individuals.