Higher Education, Full Bellies, and Island Tunes

College fair shows opportunities to Molokai students.

By Léo Azambuja

When you join youth, music and Hawaiian food on Molokai, only good things can come out. Maui Community College (MCC) put together last Saturday a vibrant event at Mitchell Pauole Center, aimed at bringing awareness to Molokai about college education. 

La`ike 2008 was an avenue for high school students to sort out college options, including campuses choices, career opportunities, and even financial aid, internships and scholarships.

“I thought it was a good idea to bring the opportunities to the students,” said Kelly Tachibana, who works as Institutional Support at MCC-Molokai. She said she got the initiative to put the event together after realizing many students don’t have a chance to attend college fairs off-island. She said Molokai High School usually has funding to send about 20 students annually to job fairs beyond Molokai’s shores.

The event was a success. Ten out of 12 University of Hawaii campuses sent staff, including Kapiolani Community College, UH West Oahu, and UH Hilo. Americorps attended, bringing information about summer, full and part-time internships. MCC helped out with automotive and culinary career information, among others. And if a college education seemed financially far-fetched, financial aid information was there to prove it wrong.

Counselors, program coordinators, admission staff, and other education-related professionals set up camp inside Mitchell Pauole Center. But it was outside, in the grassy area, that most of the night’s fun happened. Local bands jammed on the stage, while several booths sold plate lunches, musubis, salads, beverages, and a variety of dessert, including cream pies, mochi, and cotton-candy.

The party started at 4:45 p.m. and lasted until 9 p.m. This was La`ike’s first edition, and Tachibana said she plans to organize it again next year.

Tachibana said funding for the fair came from Gear Up, a federally-funded program that helps students to transition from high school to college. But many other supporters are also responsible for the event.


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