Class of 2017 University of Hawai‘i Maui College students who did dual enrollment.
Leonard playing guitar while taking Art 101
It’s All About Choices
“College is all about my choices,” says Leonard Valdez. “University of Hawai‘i Maui College’s Dual Enrollment Program at Lānaʻi High School taught me that it’s my choice to go to class or not, and it’s my choice to study or not. I learned to be responsible about how my choices will affect me.”
The program enabled Leonard to earn credits for high school and college simultaneously. When he turned his tassel on high-school graduation day in 2017, he’d already accumulated 19 credits toward his bachelor’s degree. College sophomore status is typically 24 credits.
Today, Leonard is nearing completion of his second year at UH Mānoa with intentions to declare a major in kinesiology and rehabilitation science.
A Sophomore On Day 1
More than fifty percent of eligible Lānaʻi students, mostly juniors and seniors, participate in the program this year. The majority of classes meet at the Lānaʻi Education Center, where computers, microphones and a television connect them in real time to classmates and professors at UH Maui’s campus in Kahului. Other classes are conducted entirely online. Jordan Lee Sanches earned 34 college credits, all through online coursework, before she earned her high-school diploma.
“I completed my associate’s degree in liberal arts one semester after finishing high school in 2016,” says Jordan. “In spring 2019 I’ll graduate with my BBA in marketing and management at UH Mānoa. Completing 34 college credits before entering college has opened new doors for me, and I hope students in high school today realize how valuable this opportunity is!”
Future Leaders With Unlimited Potential
Dr. Lui Hokoana, UH Maui Chancellor, emphasizes the program’s impact on the entire island. “Maui College and its partners are creating a culture on Lānaʻi, getting students excited about college, training the local workforce, and creating future Lānaʻi leaders,” he told the Maui News.
In addition to first-year college courses in English, history, psychology, math and Hawaiian language, the high-schoolers receive help in financial literacy and SAT preparation, and alongside their parents, they learn to navigate the financial aid application process.
Pūlama Lāna‘i, the dual enrollment program’s benefactor, contributes to students’ tuition and books as well as a college-and-career fair and a recognition assembly for successful completion. “When Jordan earned enough credits to skip frosh classes at UH Mānoa, it was our first indication that this program could boost a student with the drive and determination to pursue higher education beyond the shores of Lāna‘i,” says Kurt Matsumoto, Chief Operating Officer at Pūlama Lāna‘i. “Families can be confident that living on Lānaʻi does not limit their children’s education potential.”
Leonard agrees. “I saw the opportunity to get a head start in life,” he says. “I took it.”