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Students holding up signs Mahalo to our state legislators for supporting this early college program
Students thank legislators for their support of an Early College program in creative media

High school students taking college-level courses showcased their artistic, musical and creative talents in December through a series of Early College projects aimed at keeping their loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Early College is an initiative that allows high school students to take college classes on their high school campus. Students who successfully complete the college class receive both high school and college credit.

Through the Ala Ika Holomua Pathway to Success Program, an Early College partnership between the Friends of Waipahu High School, the Academy for Creative Media–UH West Oʻahu, James Campbell, Kapolei, Waiʻanae and Waipahu High Schools, participating high school students enrolled in college courses focus on creative media.

A $200,000 grant-in-aid award from the Hawaiʻi State Legislature to the non-profit Friends of Waipahu High School, offered students the opportunity to obtain college credit and develop the skills necessary to succeed in the field of creative media. The grant covered the cost of equipment to support the offering of Early College courses in creative media at the high schools. This included industry-standard software, iPads (for mobility and flexibility during the pandemic), cameras and computers.

“The grant provided us with an extraordinary opportunity to unify four high schools and the Academy for Creative Media–UH West Oʻahu for a single purpose; to collaboratively work under a vertically articulated curriculum designed to ease the transition from secondary to post secondary education in the field of creative media,” UH West Oʻahu Early College Program Director Garyn Tsuru said. “By doing this, we are not only supporting the State of Hawaiʻi‘s 55 by 25 initiative, but also preparing our students to face the challenges posed by the 21st century.”

Take care of the family

audio recording screen
Students in the Ala Ika Holomua Pathway to Success Program learned skills such as audio recording

The students worked on messaging related to COVID-19, with a project theme of E Mālama I ka ʻOhana (Take Care of the Family). The students created projects in courses such as ART 112: Introduction to Digital Art, ART 101: Introduction to Visual Arts, CM 152: Principles of Video Editing, CM 153: Sound Design for Digital Media and CM 155: Introduction to Screenwriting.

“These Early College students now have a realistic expectation of what the college experience is, as well as the confidence knowing that they can succeed in their creative endeavors in college. We hope to be seeing them soon,” said Sharla Hanaoka, director of the Academy for Creative Media–UH West Oʻahu.

The students showcased their work with a closing ceremony, which was virtually attended by legislators, community supporters and university and high school administrators, faculty and students. The students received an honorary certificate from the State of Hawaiʻi Senate, which was proposed by Sen. Mike Gabbard, and co-sponsored by Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, Sen. Clarence Nishihara and Sen. Kurt Fevella. They also received a certificate of accomplishment from the Academy of Creative Media–UH West Oʻahu and the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu Early College Program.

The students’ projects and more information are available online.

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