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$3 Million in Improvements Slated for Honoka‘a High & Intermediate

Hawai`i State Senator Lorraine Inouye. Senate Communications photo.

Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige released $3 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School.

Allocated has been $1.5 million to provide covered walkways that will connect various buildings at Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School. This project will also improve cross-campus mobility while improving sidewalk ADA ramps and access. Another $1.5 million will finance the design and construction of new restroom facilities at the school’s auditorium.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (District 4: Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) championed to secure the funds which was approved in the 2016 and 2017 Legislative Sessions.

“Honoka‘a High and Intermediate is a school that carries a substantial responsibility in educating a huge number of students, so I’m thrilled that my colleagues in the Legislature and the Governor recognized the needs of the campus,” said Sen. Inouye. “I’m proud and happy students and staff at the school will soon have a healthier and safer environment to learn.”

Honoka‘a High and Intermediate School was founded in 1889 and is located in the center of Honoka‘a Town on the Hāmākua Coast of the Island of Hawai‘i. The Honoka‘a complex is unique in that it is the only high school in the state that is fed by a kindergarten to eighth grade public conversion charter school (Waimea Middle), a kindergarten to sixth grade elementary school (Honoka‘a Elementary) and a kindergarten to ninth grade elementary and intermediate school (Pa‘auilo Elementary & Intermediate), serving students from as far as Kawaihae through ‘Ō‘ōkala, about a 40 mile reach.

Hawaii Pacific University and Honokaa High Launch Virtual Classroom

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and Honokaa High School today kicked off their new partnership that gives Honokaa students access to HPU’s new, virtual college-credit program. The 17 Honokaa students who are enrolled in the program will connect with HPU professors using video technology that allows for real-time learning.

The 17 Honoka’a students who are enrolled in the program will connect with HPU professors using video technology that allows for real-time learning.  Photo Credit: HPU

“This innovative partnership with Hawaii Pacific University helps us equip students for success at the next level, empower them to explore their potential, and inspire them to reach their aspirations,” said Suzanne Mulcahy, Hawaii State Department of Education. “Together, as a community, we can meet and exceed our goal to successfully guide students to become leaders for Hawai’i’s future.”

“We are grateful to HPU for this partnership as it gives our students direct access to a post-secondary education trajectory,” said Rachelle Matsumura, principal of Honokaa High & Intermediate School. “Programs like this encourage our students to strive for their highest potential and provides a valuable head start on earning college credits that will potentially save them time and money.”

This program is the first of its kind for the private university, which provides real-time, distance learning for high school students. To increase access and opportunities for Honokaa students, HPU tuition has been waived so the high school students may earn college credits and experience the university’s rich curriculum.

“HPU is deeply committed to making higher education increasingly cost-efficient, attainable, and expedient for the students in our local communities,” said John Gotanda, HPU president.  “We recognize an opportunity to not only provide our keiki o ka aina with their best chance to attain their desired goals, but also attract and cultivate high achievers within our islands who will one day be leaders of our community making a profound impact on Hawai’i and beyond.”

L to R: Rachelle Matsumura, principal of Honoka’a High & Intermediate; Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Mulcahy; Complex Area Superintendent Art Souza; John Gotanda, president of HPU; Carol Mon Lee.  Photo Credit: HPU

Dual Credit allows Hawaii DOE high school students to take classes that satisfy requirements for both a Hawaii high school diploma and a University degree.

The Dual Credit program is also made possible through generous support from Carol Mon Lee, a retired lawyer and educator.  Ms. Lee’s investment makes higher education more attainable for local students. She noted, “President Gotanda’s vision for educating the youth of Hawaii, especially those in our public schools, is not just inspiring but vital to our state.”

Ms. Lee currently volunteers as executive-vice president and chief operating officer of ThinkTech Hawaii, a non-profit media company. She also sits on the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Governors, UC Hastings College of Law, San Francisco.

The partnership highlights HPU’s expertise as the state leader in online education and expands its services to support public high school students. The university has been providing online education for deployed students in the military and have provided dual-credit programs with high schools around the state. In 2016, HPU became the first school in Hawaii to be approved by a state agency to participate in NC-SARA, a national authorization program to reciprocate online education across state lines.