Attendees at the College Fair and Career Café had the opportunity to meet with career professionals in roundtable discussion groups in a “coffee shop” setting. The information shared with students included an overview of the work performed, the level and scope of education necessary to obtain that role and insight into how that work benefits the community.
After initially serving 200 students statewide in 2003, Kamehameha Scholars has grown to reach more than 700 students annually, including 724 high school students this year, 70 percent of whom are students who attend Department of Education schools with the remaining haumāna representing private, charter and home schools.
Kamehameha Scholars is a supplementary educational enrichment program focused on providing college and career guidance from a Hawaiian cultural perspective, and is offered to students in grades nine through 12 as a way to broaden Kamehameha Schools’ reach by uplifting and inspiring Native Hawaiian haumāna who are not currently attending a KS campus.
As the successful program expands, so did the participation in its annual College Fair and Career Café held at the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center at KS Kapālama during the summer.
Event attendees had the opportunity to meet with career professionals in roundtable discussion groups in a “coffee shop” setting. The information shared with students included an overview of the work performed, the level and scope of education necessary to obtain that role and insight into how that work benefits the community. Each 30-minute roundtable discussion featured a question-and-answer period for students to inquire about prospective career paths.
“We talked a lot about the importance of going to college, and what you do (to prepare for that step), such as internships, community service – anything to build up your resume,” said Lacy Deniz, a 2009 KS Kapālama graduate who currently works for Hawai‘i News Now as a traffic reporter.
“We also talked about the importance of representing your culture and Kamehameha after you graduate, getting into your dream career and being able to continue Pauahi’s legacy. The best way you can really appreciate Pauahi is to give back and be a good representative of the Hawaiian culture.”
Kamehameha Scholars counselors and administrators work directly with students throughout the year, including weekends, evenings and through school intersession periods to provide haumāna with the necessary resources to develop post-high school plans with a focus on forging college and career pathways.
“Only 14 percent of Native Hawaiians who graduate from high school go to college; I didn’t say they graduated, (instead that figure) means that they went to college and sat in class,” said Partner Akiona, a peer mentor with the Kapo‘oloku Program for Native Hawaiian Student Success at Kapi‘olani Community College.
“We’re here to share information so students understand and see that they have different options to achieve their goals. You have an opportunity to better yourself, and in turn, better your family and the lāhui as a whole.”
Kamehameha Scholars has drawn national attention for its innovative approaches to teaching and mentoring, and is recognized by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) as a Recognized ASCA Model Program for its work accomplished with high school students.