Kaimana Close Up: Colton Manley

By Liz Chun - bio | email

This month we feature one of HMSA's recent scholarship winners for our Kaimana Close Up. Colton Manley is a great example of how far you can take an idea. Now he's a big reason why there is music in the halls again at Molokai High.

There's something about a good song that really strikes a cord with Colton Manley. "I'm not the loudest kid so I like to express in music, instead of actually talking to people," he says.

Performing at his graduation ceremony is just a small part of Colton's contribution to Molokai High. For his senior project, he created a program called "Bring Back the Music to MHS."

"I decided to teach guitar lessons. I thought it was just going to be borrow some guitars from my friends and teaching a couple of people."

But the response was beyond his imagination. Soon dozens of students showed up for Colton's lessons at recess.

"As the project developed, I submitted an article in the local paper asking for donations and old guitars."

To his surprise, money came in along with some new guitars. The school now has a total of 15 of them. And by fine tuning his project, the school's music program that's been gone for about six years is coming back.

"Next year there's also going to be Music Appreciation classes that will come back, partly because of this project and the interest that it sparked. But the guitar will also be a part of that."

That's not all Colton leaves behind on campus.

In his building and construction class, "we do a lot of fixing around the school," he says. "Sometimes the principal or vice principal, comes up to us if we can build some picnic tables or fix some chairs, so you can see what we've been doing in the class."

With a grade point average above 4.0, Colton's found that besides book work, he likes wood work. He's already put these skills to the test for two spring break trips to Haiti, which he turned into service trips for church.

"There was a hospital and they just built a second floor so we did a lot of work in there, dropping the ceiling and getting it ready for other people to work in there and for patients to be in there."

He's worldly and athletic. Colton has lettered in cross country, track and field and wrestling. What's more, he's the team captain for every sport he plays.

"I like the individual sports where it's one on one. Wrestling is a real endurance sport and it's not just physical, it's also mental too. I just like being pushed by what that is."

There's no doubt, Colton is driven and talented. But when it comes down to it, he'd rather let his music tell his story. And it's quite a sweet sound.