* Personal: Age 17; son of Alfred and Ericka Gaastra of Napili; enjoys competitive swimming and hiking.
* At School: Member of the Lahainaluna Japanese Club, Science Club and swim team; student representative for the Lahainaluna High School Foundation; representative for the Maui District Student Council Organization; doing independent research into whale DNA and pregnancy.
* Off Campus: Attends Kumulani Chapel, member of the Lahaina Swim Club, volunteer with the Great Lahaina Cleanup, Maui Youth Relay For Life, Lahainaluna Foundation projects and fundraisers
* Beyond High School: Plants to attend college and study biotechnology - bioinformatics, biochemistry or molecular biology - swim on a college team; long-term goals include changing the world with the practical application of biotechnology.
* What do you think is the biggest problem facing youth today? "The biggest problem facing youth today is the price of a college education. Over the past few years, it has continued to become more and more expensive. Financial aid and scholarships can only pay for so much of the final price tag of college. The rest of college is usually paid for in student loans. Student loans are great while you are in college, because they allow you to get that education. However, once you need to pay those loans back that can total tens of thousands of dollars, you may find that you can't get a good job because of a bad economy. Therefore, it becomes difficult to pay back those loans. This can deter many students from even looking into attending college and getting a four-year degree for fear of not being able to pay back those much needed loans."
The students in this weekly feature are selected by officials at their respective high schools. "Student Spotlight" recognizes students of good character who are involved in school or community activities such as athletics, clubs, student government and volunteer work.