For juniors and seniors in high school, tackling college applications, essays, financial aid forms and scholarship applications can be an overwhelming process. From mountains of paperwork to looming deadlines, it’s a stressful time for students and parents alike — as if studying for finals and getting ready to graduate isn’t hard enough as it is!
Students and parents on Lanai can get the help they need through the college+career network, now in its second year. Founded in 2013 by Marcie Uehara Herring, the program seeks to help students realize all the opportunities available to them after high school and design a plan for reaching their goals.
Herring’s parents Danny and Linda were both first-generation college graduates, inspiring her to help students on Lanai achieve the same success. Many current LHES students will become the first in their families to attain post-high school education, making effective counseling all the more important to increasing college access.
college+career network finds success early
The program is founded on innovative coaching practices, which encourage students to explore their options, consider the current market landscape and fulfill their potential. For Herring, known to students as Aunty Marcie, the college+career network is a family affair. The program’s other coaches — Aunty Linda Uehara, Herring’s mom, and Uncle Beau Uehara, Herring’s brother — work with students on an individual basis to develop personalized paths to success. In many instances, Aunty Marcie, Aunty Linda and Uncle Beau have become the extended family of program participants.
In its first year, the college+career network more than doubled college acceptance rates among LHES seniors (from 28 to 65 percent), increased the amount of scholarship dollars earned, and coached Lanai’s first Gates Millennium Scholar, Tyler Vega Pascua, who is now attending the college of her dreams. Pascua, like many students Herring works with, hopes to return home to Lanai to work in the community.
“We’re excited about the outcomes our students have achieved,” said Herring. “Our team is grateful to work with students and families on Lanai, who have been incredibly gracious in welcoming us. We are continuing to grow and encourage all LHES students in grades 9 through 12 to join the network. “
Dual credit courses
In addition to college counseling, the college+career network is working with Pulama Lanai and UH Maui College to expand the number of dual credit courses offered at LHES. Dual credit courses earn both high school and college credits, helping to fulfill core university requirements, usually in English or math. “It’s an excellent opportunity for students to get ahead in college coursework, and we’re working on increasing the number of courses offering dual credits,” said Herring. “We can also help students figure out how the additional credits will transfer in college and how they can balance their coursework to provide the greatest benefit.”
The college+career network provides access to a range of resources, including career guidance, college tours, applications and FAFSA (financial aid) help. The network will also be attending the Scholarship ‘Aha from 6–8 p.m. on Jan. 27 in the LHES cafeteria, where representatives from UH system schools and scholarship foundations will be answering questions. Call Aunty Marcie at 808-256-8472 for more information or to sign up for the college+career network.