This summer, 62 Wai‘anae Coast high school juniors earned college credits at the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu campus with help from the new Early College Summer Scholars program.
The free, six-week pilot program was aimed at improving college readiness among the haumāna. It was made possible by a partnership between Kamehameha Schools, UH West Oʻahu, the Department of Education Nānākuli-Wai‘anae Complex, and Hawaiian Electric Company.
The interdisciplinary learning experience gave students the opportunity to join one of three project-based learning cohorts: creative media, ʻāina-based education, and digital arts.
“There are no summer school programs available on the Waiʻanae coast,” said Kalei Kailihiwa, KS regional director of Waiʻanae. “This program built confidence in our kids and taught them that they are more than capable and have the ability to attend college.
“We expected a lot from our students and they rose to the occasion. The program developed study skills and made our students accountable for their own learning.”
Each of the students earned eight college credits while cultivating new friendships. The program culminated with a hō’ike where the haumana showcased their projects and were presented with certificates of achievement.
Waiʻanae high schooler Elijah Aken-Mathewson summed it up by saying, “I applied to this program because my mom made me, but in the end I learned to write a better paper, built more confidence in my skills, and even though some days it was really hard – the support was there and I did it. I would tell other students to sign-up.”
To learn more about the program and to listen to the students’ stories, view the video below created by UH-West O'ahu's Academy of Creative Media.