The Hawai‘i Herald proudly presents our new intern Alexa “Lex” Durante
Kristen Nemoto Jay
When The Hawai‘i Herald’s first issue of 2022 came out, Alexa Durante — a senior at Kailua High School — was moved to read the paper’s upcoming story ideas for the new year will not only “honor Japanese and local history, traditions, values and culture,” but will also “expand its relevance to technology, business, environment, the LGBTQIA2S+, wellness and more.” She believes stories, especially about the LGBTQIA2S+ community, are often overlooked and she’d like to help move the dialogue along in hopes to inspire others to “speak up” when they feel silenced.
“I hope to educate not just others but myself as well,” said Durante during a Zoom chat from her internship class’s computer room at Kailua High School. “I hope to inspire others and let them know that they have an outlet to share from; that they’re not alone.”
Like many who experienced the isolation that came during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Durante now appreciates the friendships that she’s made and the experiences she created when school started back up again. A process that wouldn’t have happened prior to COVID-19.
“I guess on the bright side of the pandemic, it’s made me reach out to people more,” said Durante. “As simple as saying ‘hi’ to someone on campus. It’s a great feeling to not feel like you’re the only one going through everything.”
When she’s not in school, Durante likes to journal, play with her three dogs (Bruno, Lady and Pudgy), listen to music artist Jhariah, and play video games. She’s happy to come on board as The Hawai‘i Herald’s new intern and works remotely a couple hours a week. She’s taken on writing The Hawai‘i Herald’s Bulletin Board page and is looking forward to writing her first feature piece by the end of the school year. All this despite her busy schedule, which starts at “7:20 a.m.” every weekday and doesn’t end until “all [her] schoolwork is done.” Though she’s a self-proclaimed “addict” to playing video games, Durante still maintains discipline to finish her schoolwork before she gets lost in the virtual world of The Isle or Genshin Impact.
“I can’t stand not finishing my work,” said Durante. “I always get it done so I can relax and not have to worry.”
Her gaming also provides inspiration for her many book ideas that she has in mind; one of which she’s already delved deep into the fourth chapter and is excited to add more when she finds the time. Since starting with The Hawai‘i Herald last month, Durante has already seen an improvement in her writing and is looking forward to learning more.
“The Herald has allowed me to expand on my writing skills,” said Durante. “I also would like to put myself in the reader’s shoes and write what I think my generation cares about.”
Whatever story she eventually writes at the end of her internship with The Hawai‘i Herald, Durante hopes to emphasize to others, especially people her age, that it’s important to take care of their mental health. It’s an issue she finds to be of most importance to her generation.
“I think we tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” said Durante, who believes social media can play a huge role in low self-esteem among her peers. “We compare ourselves to others … It’s self-degrading. We all go through stuff but I guess what works for me is journaling. So whether writing helps you, talking to someone, or singly loudly to your favorite song, find a way to let it out. It’s important to let that go and share it rather than keeping it inside. I think it’s cathartic. [Jhariah] helps me in a way because I resonate with the lyrics that’s written. So whatever your outlet is, find something to relate to and then grow from there.”