Group photo
Front row: Chancellor Joseph Daisy and Roberta Weil; Middle row: Rose Ramos-Benzel, Leticia Saio, Momi Kaahanui, Joana Rodriguez; Back Row: Ticannaf Ruby-Ano

Two endowments have been established in support of the groundbreaking Waiʻaleʻale Project at Kauaʻi Community College. This life changing program has served almost 800 students since it started in 2010. Dr. Roberta Weil and the LaFrance Foundation have established the innovative program’s first endowments.

“As endowments, these scholarships will perpetuate the special legacy of their namesakes for generations and help shape the futures of many families working hard to get the education they need to forge a stable future,” said Kauaʻi CC Chancellor Joseph Daisy.

The Waiʻaleʻale Project seeks out non-college-bound students through community partners and referrers. In addition to scholarships and academic support, Waiʻaleʻale provides a supportive learning environment with peer mentors to help participants succeed, creating a multi-generational movement.

The Waiʻaleʻale Project has achieved the following successes since its inception in 2010:

  • Served 781 students, ages 18–66.
  • 273 students have earned bachelor and associate degrees and/or certifications.
  • 391 degrees/certificates have been awarded.
  • 60 percent of students in Waiʻaleʻale return for the second year, while 44 percent of the non-Waiʻaleʻale student body returns.

Weil ʻOhana Waiʻaleʻale Scholarship Endowment

Roberta Weil established the Weil ʻOhana Waiʻaleʻale Scholarship Endowment. Supporting non-traditional students has been one of her lifelong passions. After starting a family, she enrolled in community college in her late twenties where she was the oldest student in her class. Managing family and school responsibilities was challenging but she took one class at a time, ultimately earning an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s in American studies, and her master’s in education. She was awarded her PhD in higher education when she was 50 years old.

Weil’s career included teaching in an elementary school; working with young men in a youth prison; and serving as assistant dean of community services at Coastline Community College in Southern California. She later served as the director of admissions and academic affairs for graduate students at University of California at San Diego. Once retired, Weil and her late husband Paul moved to Kauaʻi.

“After marriage and children, I returned to college and was one of the earliest nontraditional students at Rio Hondo Community College,” Weil said. “The Waiʻaleʻale project allows me to help other nontraditional students succeed in college. These students face many more hardships than I did, and I hope this endowment will enable them to fulfill their dreams and educational successes.”

LaFrance Kapaka-Arboleda

La France Kapaka Arboleda
LaFrance Kapaka-Arboleda

Anela Kapaka-Rhoades established a foundation to honor the memory of her mother LaFrance Kapaka-Arboleda and to help Hawaiʻi’s youth access higher education. Kapaka-Arboleda of Anahola, Kauaʻi was a respected cultural resource and very active in the Hawaiian community. She was a champion of the underprivileged and served on numerous nonprofit and government boards and commissions addressing issues from affordable housing, economic development, restoration of cultural sites and land preservation.

Kapaka-Rhoades pledged $42,000 to establish the LaFrance Foundation Waiʻaleʻale Endowed Scholarship. “My mother was a courageous visionary who championed causes that she believed would benefit all the people of Hawaiʻi,” she said. “The Waiʻaleʻale Project represents what she stood for. She vowed to take care of our children on Kauaʻi. She was an amazing woman who believed in the Hawaiian people, and she wanted nothing but the best for them. This scholarship is my way of keeping her legacy alive.”

For more go to the UH Foundation website.

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