Waipahu High Helps Students Transition Into College

State Sen. Michelle Kidani


As Senator from the newly reapportioned District 18, I have added the communities of Village Park, Waikele and Royal Kunia to the neighborhoods I represent, in addition to Waipio Gentry and my home base of Mililani Town.

I enjoyed meeting many of you during the recent campaign and reacquainting myself with Waipahu, where I worked years ago as Waipahu Community Association office manager.

We all share concerns about stabilizing Hawaii’s economy, creating work opportunities for those who want jobs, and improving transportation and education. I’ll be counting on you to share your thoughts with me as we find the best ways to meet your needs in the coming legislative session.

Our schools have always been a priority for me, and I know that one of the points of pride for West Oahu is the exceptional educational experiences now available to our youngsters at Waipahu High School.

A highlight of 2012 was the inauguration of the WHS Academy of Engineering, with the first group of 19 students moving through a four-year math, science and tech program focusing on sustainability and assistive technology. WHS has been home to other National Academy Foundation programs, providing rigorous curricula in the fields of finance, hospitality and tourism, and information Technology.

Next week, the first graduates of another new WHS program will be recognized for completing a college level psychology course over the past summer. Through a partnership with chancellor Gene Awakuni and UH-West Oahu, WHS offered dual high school and college credit for Psychology 100. All 30 students passed the course, averaging a ‘B.’ Through special funding, classes were available at no cost; they were so enthusiastic that they asked for more opportunities like this!

Now, in partnership with Leeward CC, Waipahu this semester has more than 40 students enrolled in History 151 and Speech 151 college-level classes. WHS principal Keith Hayashi said: “We’re looking to expand these opportunities for all who are interested. We want students to BELIEVE that as they apply themselves, they can succeed in college-level programs while still in high school.”

WHS is working with former LCC chancellor Mark Silliman as a “transition coordinator” to help guide students along the path to college. Additional opportunities are expected to be available to Waipahu students in the 2013-2014 school year through the Jump Start program.

Congratulations to our all-star students, and to administrators and teachers for their fine work in mentoring our future leaders. We are grateful for their leadership as Waipahu High prepares to mark its 75th anniversary in 2013 as one of Hawaii’s premier legacy secondary schools.

Sen. Kidani represents Mililani Town, Waipio Gentry (north and west of Waipio Uka Blvd.), Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia. Call her at 586-7100 or email senkidani@ capitol.hawaii.gov.