Hawaii teen tells the stories of kupuna to help others learn about living

(Image: Bryson Choy)
(Image: Bryson Choy)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - During his spare time, 17-year-old student Bryson Choy visits assisted living homes to play the piano for residents and to hear their stories.

"They just have so many interesting experiences, and they love to share it," said the Iolani senior.

Last summer, during Bryson's visits, he began to document these stories from the seniors, prompting them with questions that led to deep conversations.

What was your childhood like? Where did you grow up? What did you like doing? Interests hobbies? Where did you work? What did you do for a living?

With their permission, Bryson turned those talk stories into articles for a blog he created called "Stories of Kupuna."

Each story is an account of growing up in Hawaii that you won't find in a textbook.

"I really love learning about the history of all these kupuna and they all have their own stories," he said. "They all have their own distinct backgrounds. That's what I love about it."

Bryson also collected stories while he was vacationing on the mainland, going as far as to interview one man during his flight back to Hawaii. He also interviewed his grandparents and posted their stories on his website.

Keri Do said her son is a very good listener.

"When you listen you're letting them know that what they say and what they care about are important," she said.

So far, no one Bryson has asked to share their story has said no.

"When I go into more detail about sharing their story so that other people in the community can read it they're really into that idea," he said.

Bryson's "Stories of Kupuna" blog has expanded to include other things he's learned through his talk stories. There's a section on advice from elders.

"A lot of people, especially teachers, like the advice that's given because it's valuable life advice, and it covers all types of topics," he said.

Bryson envisions a career in medicine or business, and for his site to grow because every person he meets has a story that's waiting to be told.

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