Even in a pandemic, hope comes in many forms

Posted on Aug 25, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the pop-up clinic where Waipahu High graduate Loise Medina spoke and helped administer vaccines.

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the pop-up clinic where Waipahu High graduate Loise Medina spoke and helped administer vaccines.

With the pandemic dominating the news, it’s hard to focus on anything else. And yet, good news is all around us if we look hard enough. In the past few weeks, that included world-class athletes like Hawai‘i’s Carissa Moore winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics and some impressive, innovative programs in schools statewide.

Waipahu High School’s Academy of Health and Sciences and 2020 valedictorian Loise Medina were part of the pop-up vaccination clinic visited by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in July. In a partnership with Hawaii Pacific Health, the school offers high school seniors like Loise tuition-free training as medical assistants and employment at an HPH facility. Other Academy programs include Clinical Health, Community Health Worker, Health and Nutrition, Medical Biotechnology and Pharmacy Tech to help fill the future need for skilled healthcare workers.

Mrs. Ige with Ka‘u Global Learning Lab coordinator ʻĀina Akamu, principal Sharon Beck and DOE complex area superintendent Chad Farias.

Mrs. Ige with Ka‘u Global Learning Lab coordinator ʻĀina Akamu, principal Sharon Beck and DOE complex area superintendent Chad Farias.

Another innovation site is Ka‘u High and Pahala Elementary, where First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige is the honorary chair of “Ka‘u Dream,” an initiative to help build Ka‘u into a resilient learning community. The vision is to transition Ka‘u High from a traditional institution into an academy that helps students move from education to employment and help revitalize the Ka‘u area. The school is also the site of the Ka‘u Global Learning Lab, a GEER awardee that plans to create programs in agricultural entrepreneurship, health and education and middle school pre-academies.

“The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) projects give us tremendous hope for the futur,” said Mrs. Ige. “All the GEER projects bring collaboration, innovation and student-driven work to the forefront.” As for programs like the ones at Ka‘u,  Mrs. Ige added, “I always tell them, it’s no longer just Ka‘u ‘Dream’; it’s already happening. We’re well on our way to achieving so many good things for the students and the community.”

Read more in the September Capitol Connection newsletter.

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