Mix of high school students pursues college courses

The students in the ENG 100 early college course at Castle High School who are profiled in this story are (left to right): Amanda Fujita, Shawn Ernest, Fabian Silva-Pokipala, Tiana Goudreault, Courtney Hadama, Ihilani Soon and Samantha Perreira.
– Courtesy of Adrienne Robillard

by Melissa Garcia, Tiana Goudreault, Courtney Hadama, Anela Kahanu, Kelli Nekomoto, Briana Sedeno, Ihilani Soon and Mia Uyemura, Special to Ka ‘Ohana

Early College is a one of a kind opportunity that allows high school students to earn both college and high school credit for the same course. Originally, it was meant for students who have the potential to go to college but lack the confidence to do so. The courses aim to give these students the chance to realize they have what it takes to succeed in college-level courses.

College professors teach the classes on the high school campuses, which makes the college experience less daunting. The courses are also offered at a reduced cost.

At Castle High School, there is a variety of Early College courses such as English 100, Speech 151, History 151, Economic 130 and Chemistry 161, which provide a wide range  of experiences.

History 151 reveals what it is like to be in a lecture class where students are expected to read and take notes. English 100 allows students to experience what it is like to write an 8-page paper, which is longer than anything in high school. Chemistry 161 offers a college-level laboratory science where students do a different experiment every week. 

Who are the students who take Early College courses? Below are mini-biographies that students enrolled in the English 100 course at Castle High School, taught by WCC English lecturer Adrienne Robillard, wrote about one another. The students have a mix of academic, career and extra-curricular interests, showing that Early College truly offers something for everyone.

For the past four years, Courtney Hadama has enrolled in many Advanced Placement and Early College courses to better her chances of attending a mainland college. Hadama has always loved helping others and wants to pursue a career in the medical field. She has overcome obstacles and is self-driven. Her fear of failing is what keeps her striving to be successful.

Tiana Shari Goudreault is an ambitious, artistic, motivated, bright woman who has achieved many goals. Her sophomore year, she started her own business as an illustrator and became passionate about art and marine science. She competed in the annual Career and Technical Student Organization business competition with a friend, demonstrating knowledge on topics relating to hospitality management, marketing and tourism.  Her team won first place and competed in the national competition in Orlando. Over the summer, she was chosen to draw the cover of local microbiologist Margaret McFall-Ngai’s booklet celebrating her and her lab’s 30th year of research involving the Hawaiian bobtail squid. Goudreault would not be the person she is today without art.

Fabian Silva- Pokipala started playing baseball at five years old and says it’s a big part of his life, making him into the player and person he is today. Throughout his baseball journey, he has traveled to many countries and made long-lasting friends. He plans to continue playing baseball in college.

Samantha Perreira hopes to be a psychologist because she’s interested in understanding how other people think. Despite having mild social anxiety, she dreams of living in New York City because she loves the atmosphere there. Taking Early College courses like Speech 151 have helped Perreira break out of her shell and face her fears.

Amanda Fujita is determined to become a librarian. She has helped out at her school and public libraries her whole life. Many individuals inspired her to become a librarian like her previous English teachers, her aunty and the librarians at the Kāne‘ohe Public Library. Fujita is also involved in her Japanese class and is the president of the Key Club. She plans to attend the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Shawn Ernest is originally from Texas. He moved to Hawai‘i with his parents, who will soon be retiring. Shawn spends his free time running small businesses that he owns. He strives to be successful one day so he can provide and care for his future family.  

According to Ihilani Soon, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what your history is; your personality is what will get you far in life. Soon said she was surrounded by a super social family growing up and learned everything she knows from her loved ones. Once when she was in Longs, she noticed a woman in a wheelchair struggling to get her groceries and decided to help the woman find everything on her shopping list. Soon plans to become a radiologic technician so that she can interact with others while helping them. She thanks her family, people she volunteers with, and her friends from her health and dance club at school for making her the social person she is today.