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Hawai‘i Community College - Pālamanui Message: Enrollment Growth Continues at Hawai‘i Community College Pālamanui

Posted in Chamber News

rachel solemsaas hcc1

I am happy to report that enrollment has increased again this fall at Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui, growing from 504 students to 526. This 4% increase follows a 10% increase last fall. It is particularly encouraging considering the state and national trend is one of declining community college enrollment due largely to a stronger economy.

As Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui evolves, we continue to focus on program expansion to ensure we are meeting the needs of West Hawai‘i students and the community. This fall we are delivering three new academic programs at the campus: Natural Science, Fire Science and Veterinary Assisting.

Science lecturer presenting at December forum

Dr. Christina Hoffman, a science lecturer at Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui, will present at the 2017 Hawaii Botanical Forum on O‘ahu. The focus of her presentation will be habitat restoration at Pālamanui in the face of climate change. Christina is an outstanding teacher who was honored with Hawai‘i CC’s Outstanding Lecturer award last spring, so we know she will represent us well.

Celebrating FAHM

Between 1906 and 1946, approximately 125,000 Sakadas, or Filipino sugar and pineapple plantation workers, were recruited by the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association to work in Hawaiʻi. Today, Filipinos are the largest ethnic minority group in Hawai'i.

At Hawai‘i Community College we celebrated this heritage during Filipino American History Month (FAHM) in October. This celebration included a special visit from the Mayor of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur, Philippines, as well as other officials from the town. The group was welcomed with a kipaepae ceremony and honored at a luncheon where local amateur historian Romel Dela Cruz of Honokaʻa gave a wonderful presentation. The delegation enjoyed a lunch prepared by our Culinary Arts students. The following day they forged a sister city relationship with Hawaii County.

Hawai‘i Community College’s mission is to serve all segments of the Hawai‘i Island community, including those populations that have traditionally been underserved by higher education, such as Filipinos. We want to ensure both their access to higher education and their success after they walk through our doors. It is not enough to enroll them; they must also graduate with the skills and credentials that will help them succeed in the workforce.

In previous years, there was a “success gap” as the percentage of Filipino graduates was lower than the percentage in the student population. I am happy to report that in the past two years there has been no success gap for Filipino students. During the most recent academic year, for instance, 9% of our student population was Filipino while 13% of our graduating class was Filipino.

It’s an achievement worth celebrating, just like the history of Filipinos in the islands.

U.S. Marines, students help clear trail

Since even before the Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui campus opened in 2015, Dr. Richard Stevens, a humanities lecturer and trail expert, began restoring ancient Hawaiian trails adjacent to the campus. His most recent project is establishing the “Pālamanui Nature Trail,” which is the fourth pathway created next to the campus. To create this trail Richard recently received tremendous volunteer contributions from about 50 U.S. Marines as well as students, faculty and community members.

Thanks to their efforts, the Pālamanui Nature Trail extends south from the campus out into the fountain grass and connects a number of ancient lama trees in an area that used to be a dryland forest.

Mahalo for continuing to support your community college.

Warmest Aloha,

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas

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  • Posted in: Chamber News