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Molokai to Manhattan: MC3 East Coast Trip

By Jack Kiyonaga, Editor 

Photo courtesy of Diane Mokuau.

Eleven students from Molokai High School (MHS)’s College and Career Club (MC3) spent their fall break visiting colleges and alumni on the East Coast. 

Now in its 10th year, the annual MC3 trip exposes Molokai students to further academic and career possibilities. Between tours at schools like Columbia, Brown, Princeton and Wesleyan, and catching up with MHS alumni like Mallory Go and Kapili Naehu-Ramos, the weeklong visit was one to remember, explained Diane Mokuau, one of the MHS teacher advisors on the trip. 

Mokuau explained that this year’s visit was a little different from previous ones because it allowed for a more diverse selection of schools. For example, students toured the Rhode Island School of Design, the School of Visual Arts in New York, and culinary institute Johnson and Wales. 

The students “overwhelmingly” enjoyed the trip, said Mokuau. 

“I hope that [the students] got a sense that they’re enough,” she said, and that they “just go for it, take a chance.” 

Mokuau also explained that she hoped students now had a sense that the qualities they possess are really valuable for colleges. Skills like understanding ohana, community and sustainability, explained Mokuau, “those are the kinds of things that colleges are looking for.”

The trip also provided students with a realistic look at what college life could look like far from home. 

Alumni had the chance to talk with current students about adjusting to a new routine in college, from daily activities in a city, to fighting “imposter syndrome,” to joining clubs and finding housing. 

“I do feel more college-ready because I’ve been able to travel twice with the MC3 club and experience college tours firsthand,” said Nanea Poaha-Kaai, one of the students on the trip. 

“Before the trip, I always thought college was this scary thing,” explained Aluli’i Ching, another student on the trip. “But in reality, the students are as unique as the campuses and so are the clubs.”

This year’s trip was fully funded through a combination of school grants and student fundraising. For the first time, the teacher advisors didn’t have to pay their own way.  

For Laura Peterson, one of the teacher advisors, just watching the students interact with tour guides and alumni was moving. The MC3 club had brought handmade gifts for all those who took time to meet with them. 

“These students have a big impact wherever they go,” said Peterson. 


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