University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
February 14, 2001
Shawn Nakamoto, (808) 956-9095, University & Community Relations
|Windward Community College Launches Literacy Project|
HONOLULU-Windward Community College (WCC), a campus of the University of Hawai'i System, recently launched a new literacy project called Global Engagement of Multifaceted Stakeholders (GEMS). The GEMS program promotes service-learning at community colleges and their partner universities, and provides federal grants for outreach to ethnic minorities.
Last October, WCC, a campus with a 30 percent Native Hawaiian and Samoan student enrollment, received a grant of $42,000, renewable for two years. To serve a wider spectrum of the community, the college is partnering with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and Windward School District's Kailua Complex, which has a high concentration of Pacific Island students.
"Windward Community College is one of four pilot institutions in our country to pioneer a kindergarten through grade 16 comprehensive service-learning GEMS project," said Lorna Hershinow, service-learning coordinator of UHM's English Department.
"Service-learning is a hands-on process where students apply their knowledge outside of class," she said. "Too much classroom learning is binge and purge. That leads to 'academic bulimia.'"
"In service-learning, students learn by doing, so information retention lasts longer," explained Meredith Lee, graduate student program assistant. "For example, if I had to drive somewhere, I would learn the directions much better by following a map than if someone pointed the way."
Hershinow agreed. "Our goals are to increase the representation of Pacific Island students in higher education and to involve them in serving their communities so they'll learn in the process."
Reading is vital to the college connection. Through a project called Celebrating Teen Reading, small groups read their choices of books from a special list and then meet with mentors in literature circles to discuss what the week's leisure-reading means to them. "People come from different backgrounds so participants learn from each other," said Hershinow.
"The Pacific Island cultures value being in each other's company so the intimacy of literature circles is a good way for Pacific Islanders to learn," said Lee.
The literacy project will culminate in an Interactive Literature Festival from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 28, in the UHM Art Auditorium. "It's a great opportunity for youth readers, mentors, authors, and teachers to talk about what they've read," said Hershinow. "We're looking for individuals to serve as facilitators so literature circles can meet before the festival." The event is free; however, there is a $4 charge for pizza and beverages.
Guest authors at the festival will include UHM graduates Lois-Ann Yamanaka, whose novels include Name Me Nobody, and Yokanaan Kearns, whose play, Pidg Latin, is being performed at local theaters.
For more information, contact Hershinow at 239-9726, 956-3081, or email