By Amazing-Grace Etelagi
Ka La staff writer
This article was published in the Ka La’s April/May 2014 printed edition.
More than 820 people are expected to graduate from Honolulu Community College this year with certificates and degrees, a significant jump over previous years.
The increase stems, in part, from a new process to “auto-award” the certificates and degrees to people who had previously completed required work but had not applied for gradation.
The change resulted from Honolulu CC officials going back and looking for people who had earned their degrees and certificates and then notifying them.
Judging by past years, about 300 of the graduates will be on hand to accept their diplomas at commencement ceremonies May 16 at the Waikiki Shell.
According to the Records Office, the programs with the highest number of graduates are Liberal Arts and Applied Trades. These include everything from fashion to early childhood education and from automotive technology to administration of justice.
Misti Chiechi, 36, will be one of those graduates, receiving her Associates of Applied Science degree.
“Graduation will be one of my future most favorite memories at HCC, which I have been looking forward to for a long time,” Chiechi said.
Chiechi started at Honolulu CC three years ago and has served as a ASUH-HCC senator and delegate to the UH system wide student caucus team, a student group that works to identify and solve problems within the system.
“I would like to attend the University of Washington, which my father and sister both attended and graduated from,” Chiechi said.
Chiechi, a single mother, said she will never forget the Honolulu CC keiki center. “It has been a life saver and I just adore the women and men who work there and I enjoyed the many events they have hosted here on campus not only for the children, but for the parents.”
Among the many activities and opportunities Chiechi enjoyed, the STAR awards ceremony was one of the most memorable she has had with her daughter.
“I decided to go to school as a means of self-development, increasing my professional abilities and widening my opportunities for employment advancement,” said Phi Theta Kappa President Jamie Rodrigues.
Rodrigues enrolled in Honolulu CC to acquire her associate’s degree as a stepping stone in her academic long-term plan, which is to earn a master’s degree. She is co-attending Honolulu CC and UH Manoa, as a social worker major.
Rodrigues works for Parents and Children Together and is a mother of five.
“I would definitely recommend my family members and friends attending Honolulu CC just as I have done with my cousin Star, my co-workers Joy and Merleen, and a few others within the community” “Honolulu CC has very supportive professors,” Rodrigues said. “All of whom I encountered are genuinely invested in students’ achievements.”
As Honolulu CC goes forward and is still obtaining more resources to make learning more convenient, Rodrigues recommends programs such as the Native Hawaiian Center and TRIO-SSS, which consistently aid students on multiple levels.
“Not to mention that Honolulu CC has a fearless chancellor,” Rodrigues said. “Erika (Lacro) is an excellent leader and very passionate about the quality of care the students are afforded.”
Its offices are located on the ground floor of Building 2, just around the corner from the book store.