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Students Raise Funds for College Tour

Nineteen of Molokai High School’s (MHS) students have made lofty goals, setting their sights on some the country’s top universities. In a collaborative effort with their parents and educators to form the Molokai College Career Tour Club (MCCTC), they are working to raise $65,000 for a week-long college tour this year and prepare for post-graduation success.

“Our commitment is to our students throughout their high school career,” said Ric Ornellas, co-advisor of MCCTC. “We are committed that by the time they graduate, they are on their way to achieving their career goals, and part of that is preparing them to enter one of the most competitive education institutions in the world.”

To aid in their efforts, MCCTC is hosting a Valentine-themed event for couples and families this Friday evening. The event includes dinner and a concert from legendary Hawaiian singer and slack-key guitar player Keola Beamer, who is donating his time for the fundraiser. The night will also feature a silent auction and live student performances, all for $50 a seat or $75 for a VIP table.

“I love Molokai,” said Beamer, who has hosted a music camp on the island in past years. “I really haven’t had the chance to get there in a while and of course it’s a great cause.”

Ornellas said MCCTC was developed last year in response to the Department of Education’s statewide initiative focusing on college-and-career-ready students. After seeing the success of MHS alumni and current Harvard student Michael Kikukawa, students are raising the bar and considering other Ivy League schools, Ornellas said.

“One of the dorm advisors from Yale [University] actually came a few weeks ago and talked to us,” said MHS freshman and MCCTC member Edwin Greenleaf. “He really motivated us.”

To meet their interest, MCCTC members are organizing a trip to visit five colleges in October. In one week, these students will tour Columbia University, Barnard College, New York University, and Yale.

“This experience is opening many doors for me,” said Greenleaf, who aspires to be a surgeon. “I’ll see what they provide for medical and it’s giving me a chance to see how I can prepare myself physically and mentally [for college].”

The students will also get the opportunity to explore the programs available, speak with current university students, and even sit in on a lecture.

“We’re going to dorm with [students] and go to classes with them,” said sophomore Hi`ilani Mollena. “So it’ll give me the experience to prepare myself for college.”

To get there, Ornellas said MCCTC has been working to raise enough funds in order to make this trip possible. Previous fundraisers included concession plates at the Mr. and Mrs. Green and White pageant as well as Teacher’s Institute Day.

“All the teachers came out to the high school and we had notebooks, pens, notepads and snacks for sale,” said Mollena. “It was hard work, especially making some of the food from scratch.”

This Friday, Ornellas said the club hopes raise $17,000 in ticket sales, donations and silent auction items. He said the students have been working especially hard to make the night successful and special for everyone.

“Education is really important in the world,” said Beamer. “When you have a trip like this that you’re working towards, it’s a wonderful goal because when you travel, it’s an enriching experience. It’s giving you a better outlook on the world and on life.”

To purchase a ticket, visit mcctc.weebly.com or contact MCCTC co-advisor Diane Mokuau at 567-6950 for more information.


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