Fifteen of Lanai High and Elementary School’s most recent graduates came together one last time on June 16 to show off their school colors — only this time, they weren’t donning any green and gold.
Pulama Lanai’s College + Career Network team, consisting of Marcie Uehara Herring, Linda Uehara and Beau Uehara, organized a Senior Signing Luncheon to recognize this year’s graduates for their tremendous accomplishments. Participants received certificates of recognition, along with cool logo gear representing the college they will be attending in the fall. Of the 29 seniors who participated in the College + Career Network, 22 are on their way or have plans to pursue higher education. The remaining participants will seek employment or join the military.
The College + Career Network was launched at the start of the 2013–2014 school year to provide comprehensive coaching, increase high school graduation rates and help students in ninth through 12th grades navigate the often daunting college and financial aid application and enrollment processes. In the first year of the program, 67 students and their families participated in weekly coaching on maintaining grades, SAT/ACT prep, college applications and essays, scholarship application, and discussing issues that can derail graduation.
In its first year, the program surpassed all expectations. One hundred percent of LHES seniors graduated, the number of students who enrolled in a two- or four-year college increased from 28 percent to 51 percent over last year, and the dollar value of scholarships earned by this year’s seniors skyrocketed from $93,000 to nearly $400,000. Tyler Vega Pascua also helped put LHES on the map this year by becoming the first-ever Gates Millennium Scholar from Lanai, which earned her a full-ride scholarship to the college and graduate school of her choice, UNLV, where she plans to major in pre-med and become a pediatrician.
Mahalo and congratulations to all the students and parents who participated in the College + Career Network. The coaching team is already preparing for next year and expects to welcome even more participants.