Waipahu High Early College ‘Olympians’ first to earn degrees

Posted on Apr 24, 2018 in Featured

The Early College Olympians with coordinator Mark Silliman (far left) and principal Keith Hayashi.

This month 12 exceptional Waipahu High students will be the first in the state to graduate with their associate in arts college degrees — before they even receive their high school diplomas. That feat by the Early College “Olympians” is a testament to their own determination and the success of a program that has expanded to 38 other high schools on six islands through an initiative supported by Governor Ige.

Early College started in Waipahu in 2012 as a joint project with Leeward Community College and funding from the McInerny Foundation to cover costs so students could attend college classes tuition-free. A $1 million allocation to the program from the governor in 2017 is helping students statewide earn college credits tuition-free. “This program is life-changing,” said Governor Ige, who did a Facebook Live session April 10 with the Olympians, principal Keith Hayashi and Waipahu’s Early College coordinator Mark Silliman. “We heard the Olympians’ inspirational stories of how the program helped them realize they could do college work,” the governor continued. “It gave them self-confidence to pursue their dreams while saving their families tuition money. That’s why I’ve supported funding the program for every high school in the state.” To see the Facebook Live session, go to https://youtube/OIDjisO_6k. For a list of schools with Early College classes, go to http://bit.ly/2EY3ED2.

Read more in May Capitol Connection newsletter