Celebrating Waipahu High, West Head Start
Kidani’s Korner…Sen. Michelle Kidani
Late May and early June are filled with celebrations for many Oahu families as the school year ends with honors assemblies and graduation ceremonies.
I was in the audience at Blaisdell Center May 29 for Waipahu High School’s commencement, and everyone there was definitely in a mood to celebrate.
Some 560 seniors marked the end of their high school careers — and what a year it was!
Ever since principal Keith Hayashi and his dedicated corps of teachers and administrators refocused the school on college and career readiness, a new “can do” spirit has taken over.
The results are clear: Waipahu High was cited as one of five Hawaii public high schools that increased the number of graduates going to college by 10 percent or more over a twoyear period.
The Class of 2012 sent 43 percent of graduates off to college; the Class of 2014 enrolled 53 percent in college.
Numbers aren’t available for the current class, but it’s likely we can expect an even higher percentage since more than 160 seniors who received their diplomas this year — nearly a third of the class — already had earned college credits
through the school’s early college initiatives.
Here are some other numbers to celebrate: Thirteen graduates shared the honor of being designated class valedictorian this year; nine graduating seniors were named National Scholars by Phi Theta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society; and the Class of 2015 earned a staggering $15.2 million in scholarships and grants for exceptional achievements in academics and athletics.
Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the successes of Waipahu High School’s students, including the proud families of these young men and women.
A Milestone Anniversary
Last month, Honolulu Community Action Program (HCAP) Head Start program marked its 50th anniversary of serving pre-schoolers and their families across the state.
The program is active in more than 80 locations on Oahu, including centers in the Honowai-Waikele-Waipahu area.
Head Start brings in about $15 million in federal funding to our state annually.
But more than that, the 1,700 youngsters in the program each year develop learning and social skills early in life that will serve them well through their school years and as tomorrow’s leaders in our neighborhoods.
Hats off to director Lynn Cabato, who has been with Head Start for nearly 40 years, beginning as a social services aide and serving as program head for the past decade.
Lynn has willingly and passionately devoted her life to the program, nurturing and depending on the strong staff and community support so essential to the strength of the services HCAP Head Start provides.
Happy anniversary to the Head Start ohana, and best wishes for many more successful years!
Contact state Sen. Michelle Kidani (District 18 — Mililani Town, most of Waipio Gentry, Village Park, Royal Kunia and Waikele) at 586-7100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.