onipaa students

ʻOnipaʻa participants display their new t-shirts.

In an effort to find a better way to keep students on track to enter college in the fall after graduating from high school, three University of Hawaiʻi campuses joined forces to bridge the summer gap with a new program called ʻOnipaʻa that targets recent graduates from Nānākuli and Waiʻanae high schools.

In the past, almost one-third of those high school graduates, who were accepted at a UH campus, failed to register for classes in the fall. The goal of ʻOnipaʻa is to engage the students earlier and increase the chance that they will continue on to college.

The week-long program included career aspiration and exploration, a guide to college success, financial aid and financial literacy sessions, writing and math classes, college success tips, team building, and other activities that exposed the students to the exciting world of undergraduate study at Leeward Community College, UH West Oʻahu and UH Mānoa. The students spent time at each campus, including a night in a UH Mānoa dorm.

“We’re trying to say, welcome to UH no matter what door you use to enter the system,” said Christopher Manaseri, Leeward CC dean of student services.

Kamehameha Schools, the Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education and Mānoa Educational Talent Search contributed to the week-long program.

For photos of the students’ daily activities, visit ʻOnipaʻa’s Flickr page.

A Leeward CC news release

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