King Kekaulike Student Inspires STEM Careers

Aelyssa Grace Sabado-Macanas

Aelyssa Grace Sabado-Macanas

Aelyssa Grace Sabado-Macanas, a student at King Kekaulike High School, tackled two huge questions in her senior project: Why are women and minorities underrepresented in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields? What can I do to inspire students to consider STEM careers? Aelyssa’s project took her on a personally gratifying and creative journey as she researched the values and challenges of STEM initiatives in the United States. Continue reading

Mathew Butler: Sailing Is His Passion

Mathew Butler

Mathew Butler

Seventeen-year-old Mathew Butler is well on his way to achieving his dream to become a sailing instructor. His senior project at Mililani High centers on receiving sailing certification and being able to work with younger students to have them meet minimum qualifications to sail dinghies at the Rainbow Bay Marina in Pearl Harbor. He is teaching an 18-hour sailing course to these youngsters. Continue reading

Molokai Middle Schoolers Get a Taste of High School Life

Molokai High, Lyn BonkPEARL’s influence continues to grow! At Molokai High, Lyn Bonk, Uplink coordinator, and librarian Diane Mokuau, decided to give middle schoolers a head start by creating a special program in summer 2012 that would give the youngsters a taste of high school academic life. This summer program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers. This federal program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. Continue reading

Architectural Imagining: Redesigning an Art Classroom

Randy Ines Jr.Randy Ines Jr., called RJ by his peers, decided to redesign the art classroom at Castle as his senior project. He worked with community mentors including experts from Group 70, an architectural firm, and from the UH School of Architecture as well as Duane Preble, retired UH art professor. RJ studied many designs and learned about the impact of environment on behavior and learning. He surveyed his peers at Castle to determine what should go into the design of an engaging learning space for high school students.

Karen Kimura and Tiffany Yango-Au served as RJ’s faculty advisors for his capstone project. Karen said, “RJ’s personal growth and victories represented the kind of learning that happens when a student is set free to pursue his own quest for knowledge. His achievement exemplifies what happens when we get outside our four walls and our students work alongside the community.”

RJ is majoring in architecture at USC and hopes that his senior project design will someday be more than a sketch on paper.

Family Experience with Autism Inspires Project

Kiani BallaoKiani Ballao, a recent graduate of Castle High School, has a younger brother who was diagnosed with autism. Her concern for her brother’s welfare fueled her desire to research this disorder for her senior project. She learned the Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) that targets broad areas of a child’s development, as opposed to improving specific behaviors. According to Autism Speaks, Inc., PRT focuses on “the development of communication, language and positive social behaviors and relief from disruptive self-stimulatory behaviors. The philosophy is that, by targeting these critical areas, PRT will produce broad improvements across other areas of sociability, communication, behavior and academic skill building.”

Applying PRT strategies, Kiana assisted her brother with daily tasks, such as eating and drinking to help him develop skills he needs throughout his life. After working with her brother for six months, she noticed marked improvement in his verbal communication skills. Her research and work with her brother has inspired Kiana to pursue a possible career in helping other children with similar disorders. She is continuing her education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she is pursuing studies in Psychology and Communication Science Disorders to further her learning.