Ryan Kamalani Luke Honorary Scholarship
Ryan Kamalani Luke is a Class of 2018 Stony Point graduate. Kamalani is of Hawaiian descent and his Hawaiian name, Kamalani means “Child of Heaven”. With the exception of Round Rock ISDs (RRISD) Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities, as a student with significant disabilities receiving special education services, Kamalani was not routinely included in classes with his peers without disabilities. Kamalani’s parents consistently advocated for his inclusion in general education classes because the peer-reviewed literature shows that inclusion—meaningful inclusion—with non-disabled peers is an indicator of success post-high school.
In middle and high school, Kamalani not only participated in Partners in PE and Special Olympics, he also participated in band, choir, science and other general education classes. In his senior year, Kamalani’s choir classmates unanimously voted him as “Mr. Choir” and Choir Mayor—an incredible honor particularly because Kamalani is unable to speak. Kamalani also made many friends in PE with general education students who volunteered as partners and assisted students in PE with a disability or special need.
Throughout his lifetime, Kamalani has contributed to or inspired social change for people with disabilities. At age 4, Kamalani and his family organized a rally at the State Capitol and visited his state representatives, which resulted in the passage of a bill that gave 20,000 Texans with disabilities access to long-term services and supports. More recently, Kamalani inspired a statewide program that will prepare students with disabilities and their families for transition from high school beginning in the 8th grade, which is important because research shows that parent involvement and planning sooner for transition from school is an indicator of success after high school. Because of Kamalani, thousands of students with disabilities will be better prepared for their future, thousands of parents and families of these students will be better able to plan for their child’s future and thousands more will be more knowledgeable and aware of options available to students with disabilities.
Immediately after graduation from Stony Point, Kamalani joined the Physical Therapy Program at Texas State University where he plays a dual-role as both a patient and a member of the training team. His participation on the team helps him, the students, and future patients who will be treated by physical therapists who will be better prepared to serve patients like Kamalani—a win-win-win.
This scholarship will honor Stony Point’s Choir Program, RRISD Partners in PE program, and RRISD’s Special Olympics Program because these programs offered Kamalani meaningful inclusion with his general education peers. Kamalani’s family hopes this scholarship will inspire the recipient to combine the success he or she achieved in high school with the pursuit of a career that creates social change, equity, fairness, justice, inclusion, or advancement for persons with disabilities or other vulnerable populations.