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Maryknoll Stories

Mailani Makainai ’98

Recording Artist
A creative artist knows how to project truth and emotion into their craft. Maryknoll 1998 graduate and Nā Hōkū Hanohano award-winning singer-songwriter Mailani Makainai began singing at just 2 years old, and loves to share her talent with the world.
“I feel that music was a gift that was given to me and the best way that I can create more happiness throughout the world is to share that gift, and that’s why I love to sing and tell stories,” Makainai says.

Her gift was nurtured by the creative and supportive people around her, especially by those she met during her time at Maryknoll.

“I’ve made a lot of long-lasting fruitful friendships throughout Maryknoll School,” she says. “I’ve gotten to learn from some of the best teachers ever and have such great memories.”

Makainai advises all students who are interested in the creative arts to be lifelong learners.

“It’s very important that people understand that just because you graduate from high school or even college, you never truly stop learning. There are mentors out there, even beyond college, that you can learn a great deal from,” Makainai says.

One aspect of Maryknoll that continues to resonate with Makainai to this day is the school’s motto, Noblesse Oblige, which means “to whom much is given, much is expected.” Says Makainai, “My mother would always say ‘Noblesse Oblige, Noblesse Oblige’ while we were going to school. It was a way for us to help out at our church or help out our community, or help the poor or the sick. It was a way that our family came up in that mana‘o, that idea, that sentiment of giving towards others because we’ve been given a lot.”

As her way of giving back to the school, Makainai wrote a mele entitled “Pu‘u Malia,” which honors the school and the values it instills in its students and their futures. The song is now sung at every graduation, Baccalaureate Mass and Mass Day.

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