Eight Farrington High School students earned their associate in arts degrees in liberal arts from Honolulu Community College and walked in commencement ceremonies on May 12—a record number of such students for both institutions. They earned their college degrees before receiving their high school diplomas through University of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi Department of Education dual-credit programs.
The students were Leilani Joy Dela Cruz, Rachelle Anne Sales Manuel, Kuʻuleihoku McConnell, Cardenas Pintor, Norine Quach, Cadyn Ramos, Rachael Ahfook Tamapolu and Kailee Umaga-Silva.
“We are just so proud of these students’ accomplishments,” said Karen C. Lee, chancellor of Honolulu CC. “They persevered in getting their college associate’s degree through this partnership, and set themselves on the path to success. More and more jobs require a college degree, so they were so smart to seize an opportunity to go to college at no cost to them or their families.”
The dual-credit programs that helped them—Early College and Running Start—allow high school students to take free college classes and receive both high school and college credit (dual credit) for completion of 100-level and above courses.
“Thank you so much to Honolulu CC, Project Hoʻokui (which helps high school students meet the academic qualifications to participate in Early College and Running Start), and the teachers who helped us get to where we are right now. You are the reason why I am here today, a graduate with an associate’s degree in high school and I can’t thank you enough!” said Manuel.
Administrators emphasize that any number of dual-credit classes will help students and their families, whether or not they end up leading to early college degrees. Enrollment in dual-credit programs has been growing across the state, saving students and their families both money and time. More than 24,000 students enrolled in UH Community College dual-credit courses from 2013 to 2023.