Nonies-Ramos Does It All: Model Dancer, Actor, ASMHS President

Persevering Through Hardships and Challenges Prepare for Life After High School

Hope Ishizaka, Reporter

     With over 2,000 students at MHS, the Associated Students of Mililani High School (ASMHS) plan and coordinate school-wide events such as pep rallies, spirit weeks, homecoming, service projects and awareness days. Seven students make up ASMHS to ensure that each event goes according to plan while promoting school pride. This year’s president, Senior Arianna Nonies-Ramos, is the face and the voice of MHS as she represents the school and leads the ASMHS executive board.

    “Last year I was actually in the leadership class which really allowed me to shadow the last year’s group. And actually, I got inspired by their work so Alyssa, last year’s president, D.J., and Jessica, all them — I’ve actually grew up with some of them and seeing them (and) how ASMHS grew them into a bigger person really inspired me,” said Nonies-Ramos.

    To become ASMHS President, she had to apply and run for office last year. She also had to provide her mission statement, be recommended by her teachers and go through an interview process. “I believe Ari has also had a passion for her community and school. She wanted to make a difference, contribute (to) our school and leave a legacy as a student leader,” said Student Activities Coordinator Janet Ward-Riehle. “Ari has the philosophy that ‘No one is you and that is your power.’ That was the platform she ran on while competing for ‘Miss Teen Mililani’ and what she has carried into her presidency. She has spent the year instilling that motto to not just our councils, but the student leaders of our complex schools through two trainings this year.”

    Nonies-Ramos is constantly busy as she has many extracurricular activities such as her monthly show at Mililani Town Center called “Arianna Chenoa & Friends” which highlights her hula and Tahitian dancing as well as the talents of other Mililani students who perform alongside her. Her talents and involvement in the community has been a great platform and a way to connect with others. “Her dancing has also opened other doors for her, as she will be competing at the prestigious Merrie Monarch festival later this month and throughout Japan in the summer,” said Ward-Riehle. “Ari has also modeled in Hawai’i Fashion Week. She has also hosted the Brown Bags to Stardom competition both on campus and on television. Ari works hard developing her talents and showmanship through these activities.”

    For Nonies-Ramos, balancing out ASMHS with school and her extracurricular activities has been a big task. She heavily relied upon time management and organization skills in order to avoid getting overwhelmed. “Arianna has a strong sense of perseverance and dedication. Regardless of what life throws at her, Ari faces each day with a smile and the drive to do her best,” said Ward-Riehle. “Her day starts early with school and goes far into the night with her hula and Tahitian practices. Sometimes she will have performances during the week. She doesn’t let her long days or strenuous practices affect her willingness to serve.”

    Throughout the year Nonies-Ramos set up goals for herself to accomplish. These goals involved both her school work, modeling, acting and dancing. “Some of my goals this year was to get out of my shell. Before this, I was a really shy person. I kind of am, but my goal is still trying to be fulfilled,” said Nonies-Ramos. “I do plan on to pursue more of my extracurricular activities as well as school, but one of my goals is to become more outgoing in my modeling and acting and hula dancing ‘cause it’s something I’ve been working on outside of school so I hope it pays off in the future.”

    Nonies-Ramos dedicates the majority of her time to helping others both in and out of school. While this is a lot for a senior in high school to uphold, she is motivated by those around her to continue what she does. “I’d say my biggest motivation is really the people who look up to me. Doesn’t really have to be typical little kids. Some of them are my friends who look up to me. And I’ve really been a well-rounded person. My mom really pushed that to me and my siblings,” said Nonies-Ramos. Ward-Riehle added, “Ari is also very dedicated towards serving her school and leaving it better than she found it. Ari saw ASMHS in action last year as she assisted in various activities and events as a member of my leadership class. She took her experiences and knowledge from last year and brought them to the table this year to better not just herself as a person, but her school.”

    With everything that goes on, she has faced many challenges and hardships such as the loss of a loved one and the stress of school. However, she is able to make sure that nothing interferes with her work and she encourages those around her and who looks up to her as a role model. “I think a lot of the challenges that hit me are from losing a family member or finding something out through family. But like how I said earlier, just think of why I’m doing it. And there’s a time and place for those feelings and I try not to let it affect me for my work purposes. Being at my position, it’s like you have to uphold yourself a lot so it’s not just what you do, it’s how you look and how you portray to people and talk to them,” said Nonies-Ramos.

    As the seasons come and go, she transitions throughout her extracurricular activities. All of them interest her and she can not choose a favorite thing she participates in. “Like right now it’s Merrie Monarch time. This is my first time competing this year and in actually a couple weeks. So it’s a little back and forth,” said Nonies-Ramos. “Sometimes hula dies down and it’s just practice, no performances. Then sometimes (with) ASMHS there’s homecoming which is like the biggest event in school. So it just really varies.”

    As her senior year comes to a close, she has her eyes set to what lies ahead. After high school she plans to travel and further her dancing, modeling, acting and education. She will attend Honolulu Community College during the fall to study fashion designing.


President to Merrie Monarch Festival

Nonies-Ramos has been dancing hula for about 14 years. She was inspired by her older sister and grew up following her dance movements as she practiced. From then on Nonies-Ramos fell in love with dancing hula and will participate in the prestigious Merrie Monarch Festival in April.

    “As time gets definitely closer and closer to Merrie Monarch, like any other hula dancer getting ready for competition, I am a little nervous. But I’m more excited than nervous! Merrie Monarch is like the Olympics of hula, very serious, very cultural and keeps you at the edge of your seat. Ever since I watched my first Merrie Monarch, it automatically became a goal for me as a hula dancer to one day dance on that stage. And after 18 years of watching it on TV, I am now following my dreams and competing in this years Merrie Monarch with my Halau,” said Nonies-Ramos.

    Nonies-Ramos will be dancing for Halau Hi’iakainamakalehua under the direction of Kumu Robert Ke’ano Ka’upu IV and Kumu Lono Padilla. Their practices and preparations for the Merrie Monarch Festival began in October of 2018. “My goal as a dancer going into this, is to portray my kumu’s visions through my dancing. As an individual, my goal for my Merrie Monarch journey is to know that if I can accomplish this one dream of mines, no matter how long it takes, I can accomplish anything and everything, as long as I put my mind to it!” said Nonies-Ramos.

    Merrie Monarch Festival will be from April 21 until April 27 in Hilo, Hawai’i. KFVE will be broadcasting the event.