Every year, Leeward Community College hosts Discover Leeward Day.

“So basically we get all the 10 high schools on the Leeward side to come on down and check out all the CTE programs we have here,” explains guide and peer mentor Noah Keamo, a student at Leeward CC.

CTE stands for career and technical education. During the event, each high school tours three of these CTE programs—automotive, culinary arts, teaching, health, digital media, business and TV production.

“They get to come out and see what programs we offer here,” said Keamo before the day of tours started. “And if they want to come to Leeward they know what we have here.”

A Leeward high school student participates in a culinary demonstration at Discover Leeward Day.

The students check out the facilities, enjoy hands-on displays and workshops and meet instructors who basically share the same message.

Leeward CC Automotive Assistant Professor Ray Tanimoto says, “This is a very good opportunity for them to learn this trade at Leeward Community College.”

The students also learn exactly what’s involved in each program and what will be expected of them. The students also get to try out equipment, from the green screen of the broadcast program to the kitchen of the culinary program.

“We got to mix, we got to watch all the students do their thing,” said Koʻualoha Victor-Kahao, a Nānākuli High School senior, after participating in the event. “It was really good.”

“I think it was very insightful and it showed you how the programs work,” agreed Waialua High School senior Samuel Leigh.

“Very good experience for all of us upcoming college students, especially us seniors, so we do know what we are going to experience when we do come here,” added Victor-Kahao.

That’s another important goal of Discover Leeward Day—showing that there is no reason to be intimidated by the concept of going to college.

“Part of the tour is looking around and seeing what campus life is all about,” said Keamo.

“It’s just very normal, just like high school,” said Leigh after touring Leeward CC. “It sets the questions that I had.”

For many students, Discover Leeward Day is an important first step into higher education.

“It basically sold me where I am going to go,” said Leigh, who said he plans on enrolling at Leeward CC.