Fifteen public high school students from across the state earned college degrees from University of Hawai‘i campuses in spring 2018, before their high school graduations, through the Early College program.
Among the 15 students is Kīhei Charter High School senior Macaleigh Hendricks who earned her associate’s degree in liberal arts from UH Maui College. She is the first to graduate from the program at UH Maui College.
Early College collaborations between UH and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education, offer the opportunity for students to take college courses at their high schools and simultaneously earn credit toward both high school and college diplomas. UH also has an Early College collaboration with Kamehameha Schools. This past school year (2017-18), 270 Early College classes were being offered by UH at 40 public high schools and charter schools across the state, and more then 375 classes are planned for next school year.
“Taking early college classes is a great investment in the future.,” said Craig Okahara-Olsen, who received his associate in arts degree from Hawaiʻi Community College through the Early College program a couple of weeks before his high school graduated from Waiākea High School. “It was a big journey for me and being here now, I hope I can go forward with this opportunity and inspire others across my community.”
Early College started at Waipahu High School in 2012 as a joint project with Leeward Community College, with funding from the McInerny Foundation. On Friday, May 11, 13 Early College graduates (12 from Waipahu High School and one from Wai‘anae High School) who had taken classes taught by faculty from Leeward CC or UH West O‘ahu walked the line at Leeward CCʻs commencement ceremony.
“Participating in Early College is one of the best ways we have found to increase the probability of high school students going to college and then persisting from their first year to their second,” said UH President David Lassner. “It is particularly effective in improving college participation among low-income and under-represented groups.”
Hawai‘i P–20 Partnerships for Education Executive Director Stephen Schatz said, “As we continue to build Hawai‘i’s future workforce and citizenry, Early College is helping us move us in the right direction to reach our goal of having 55 percent of working age adults in Hawai‘i holding a college degree by 2025.”
Kīhei Charter High School senior Macaleigh Hendricks earned her associate’s degree in liberal arts from UH Maui College through the Early College program. She is the first to graduate from the program at UH Maui College.
The UH Community Colleges have also announced a scholarship opportunity for more than 1,800 Class of 2018 graduates from Hawai‘i public high schools who participated in UH dual credit programs. The graduates are eligible for a $100 scholarship toward books and supplies when they enroll in a UH community college by June 30.
The scholarship seeks to increase the college going rate of high school graduates who have earned dual credits and to encourage the early registration of those who already plan to attend a UH community college.
To receive the scholarship, the 2018 high school graduates who already have UH credits must enroll at a UH Community College campus, and register for at least 6 credits for fall 2018 byJune 30, 2018.
The additional 14 student graduates received diplomas from Leeward Community College (13) and Hawai`i Community College (1).