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Ittai Wong

"Ittai is a Biblical name from Hebrew origin. One of King David's army captains; he was going to war." At 16, Ittai is engaging in a war of art language as a member of the Youth Speaks Hawai'i team.

Ittai is a truly gifted poet who takes pride in his Hawaiian heritage. While he doesn't surf, Ittai does enjoy the ocean life on the island. He says, "It's kind of fun to just get tossed in the waves and just be ridiculous and a rag doll." He doesn't know how long he'd last away from the island. "I'm pretty sure my body can't take the coldness," he says. "So I'm gonna have to come back to Hawai'i."

Ittai's mixed ethnic identity is typical of Hawaiians. "This is Hapa," he says, "it's like the balance of Hawaiian and Asian ethnicities with Caucasian. A lot of people are Hapa and it's just accepted. Hawai'i is 'Other.' You can't label a person that has six different ethnicities into one small box."

Ittai Wong

Team Hawaii