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Future Fest: A Peak into Possibility

Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

Each year, Molokai High’s Future Fest opens up doors and inspires students to think out of the box when it comes to their futures. The all-day event, held last month, is open to community members, parents and students of Molokai High, Molokai Middle and Aka`ula schools and encourages exploration of a wide variety of post-high school options.

“Many of our participants are unsure about how to or unable to contact representatives so having a fair at Molokai High allows for all to have the same opportunity as their off-island counterparts,” said Lisa Takata, who co-coordinates the event with fellow teacher Kai Ward. “For some, Future Fest is a pivotal point in planning for their future.”

Representatives from the Molokai Humane Society and Diagnostic Laboratory Services, to the National Park Service and the U.S. Coast Guard, from welders and chefs to nurses and linguists, students got the chance to explore to a wide variety of businesses, trade schools, colleges and fields at the career fair portion of the event.

Leilani DeCourcy, an attorney with Chun DeCourcy, LLC, alumnus and representative of Brown University and a 1990 Molokai High graduate, is a repeat presenter at the annual event.

“I come back every year because I feel like it’s my duty,” she said laughingly of Future Fest. “Growing up, I was exposed to these schools [like Brown], but not all Molokai kids have that opportunity. you plant that seed and expose them to what’s out there… I hate for anyone to think that because you went to Molokai High School, this is out of their reach. If you don’t know it’s there, why would you strive for it?”

Photo by Catherine Cluett Pactol

“It’s fun to meet new people, to see how deep people’s backstories, what they did to get there,” said Rayden, an MHS senior. “That’s why I love Future Fest, and I’m super grateful that we have it here.”

Photo by Lisa Takata

During hands-on one- and two-hour workshops, students gained first-hand knowledge about technical and artistic skills like carpentry, silk screen printing and welding. The Coast Guard even landed a helicopter on the MHS athletic field for students to tour.

“Future Fest is more than a college and career fair,” said Takata. “Future Fest allows students to actually participate and learn new skills in specific fields.”

Office of Hawaiian Affairs was a major sponsor of the event, and produced a video about what it means for Molokai students.

“Future Fest is a good place for kids to start thinking about their future,” said MHS junior Violet in the video. “That one experience [of a past Future Fest] was enough for me to realize that law was something that I wanted to get into.”

“Going to Future Fest in the past, it helped me see all my options that I have, all the different careers there are out there,” added MHS senior Tashady.

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