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Kids from Chuuk uses their inspirational story to break stereotypes, spread love

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We're only ONE day away to the big season premier of "Rise" on NBC. From the producers of Hamilton and Friday Night Lights, "Rise" is a heartening new musical drama - inspired by a true story - about finding inspiration in unexpected places. To promote the upcoming series, we sit down with the public school performing arts teachers, the talents, and the trailblazers here at home.

Tonight, we meet up with the Kids from Chuuk and their inspirational story on breaking stereotypes and spreading the love amongst cultures.

You might've heard the Kids From Chuuk's song on heavy rotation on local radio stations. Or, maybe you've had it on repeat on YouTube. It's been viewed close to 260,000 times since it was uploaded two years ago.

Meet KFC - short for the Kids from Chuuk. This is their hit song "I'm Gone."

Takayoshi Mori, Hanson Ignacio, TJ Ngitong, and Chris Yerten who is currently off-island, are all Simon Sanchez High School students or recent graduates. Hanson explained, "We were just four Chuukese students who joined our La Voce honor choir."

It was there their choir teacher, Yoo Kyung Shin, encouraged the boys to perform as a group for an upcoming concert. The rest, they say, is the Lord's doing. Takayoshi said, "Our first song that we actually performed was "Lord I Need You" by Matt Mayer. So that really goes to show where our foundation was, where we really started has always been with the Lord and with our Faith."

And through the Lord, with love, and through their music, they continue to shatter stereotypes about the Chuukese community. "It's a universal language and that is really our way of sharing our message which is to spread the love between our various cultures, one song at a time," said TJ, with Takayoshi chiming in, "We're not different, it's never been easy, but we've been so blessed that we've been getting a lot of support."

True to form, Hanson echoed the sentiment, saying, "Being us, we're basically considered the minority of this island, which is what makes us work even harder, strive to reach our goals and not stop."

They're also proving that the underdog can come out strong. Hanson said of their soon-to-be-alma mater, "Sanchez, we'll always be the underdogs, public-school wise. They'll always look down on us,, which will make us even better. It feels so good to show them wrong, to come out on top and be humble about it."

Takayoshi also said, "We always are the underdogs. Which means everything that we have to do, we always have to put our full heart into it. Where we come from, we have this saying: 'All heart, all Shark', that's where Simon Sanchez, we learn that even though we don't' have all the available resources, we don't' have everything. There's true beauty in the struggle, from where we come from. And it doesn't matter where you come from, you can always get to where you want to go, depending on how hard you're willing to push."

The season premier for RISE airs on Wednesday, March 14th at 9 p.m. on KUAM TV8 and at 8 p.m. every Wednesday after.

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