A partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media and Waiʻanae High School Searider Productions and Waipahu High School will deliver curriculum focused on creative media to high school students as part of an early college program designed to foster college and career readiness, as well as afford students educational opportunities that will make them viable in a competitive job market.
“This partnership provides students with every opportunity so that they are college ready,” UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham said. “Their ability to graduate quickly, join the workforce, and be community leaders becomes more of a reality.”
Through this partnership, students at Waiʻanae and Waipahu High Schools will take skill-based college courses and earn college credit while simultaneously fulfilling their high school requirements. The partnership provides students with a seamless transition from secondary to post-secondary education, thereby supporting the state’s educational goal of increasing the amount of adults who hold a college degree to 55 percent by year 2025.
“It is particularly fitting that UH West Oʻahu’s Academy for Creative Media starts its first early college partnerships with Waiʻanae High School and Waipahu High School because 15 years ago it was student work from Waiʻanae’s Searider Productions that demonstrated the promise of Hawaiʻi’s students when we were exploring the concept of UH‘s Academy for Creative Media System,” Academy for Creative Media Director and Founder Chris Lee, said. “More recently, the ACM System brought Power Rangers star Ludi Lin for an enthusiastic student talk story event at Waipahu High School. These first early college partnerships continue UH West Oʻahu ACM‘s growth as the hub of creative media education for the entire state.”
Integrating media and artistic skills into an educational foundation
UH West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media integrates various media domains, such as design, storytelling and technology, providing students with a rich educational foundation to help them grow as a future professional. Course requirements address development and maintenance of existing artistic skills and provide experience in working on realistic problems.
For more than 20 years, the Waiʻanae High School Searider Productions has garnered national recognition. In 2016, Searider Productions students were the recipient of four High School Emmys awarded by The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
“UH West Oʻahu has always been one of our strong partners and we’re excited to now allow our Creative Media students a seamless transition from Searider Productions at Waiʻanae High to the Academy for Creative Media at UH West Oʻahu,” said Candy Suiso, the co-founder of Waiʻanae High School’s Searider Productions.
Waipahu High School Early College High School Program serves more than 300 students per academic year, and is the state’s model early college program. In 2018, the program will graduate its first cohort of academic Olympians, students who have not only completed their high school requirements, but have also earned enough college credits to obtain their Associate degrees as well.
The UH West Oʻahu Early College High School Program provides baccalaureate-level educational opportunities to high school partners who serve low-income youth, first-generation college goers and students who come from ethnic backgrounds largely underrepresented in higher education. The program has saved families from these economically depressed areas over $483,600 in tuition costs alone.