Kea‘au Middle College receives $10,000

Hawaiʻi Community College‘s program allows students to earn college credits

Hawaiʻi Community College
Posted: May 6, 2009

Hawaiʻi Community College‘s innovative outreach into the high schools, Keaʻau Middle College, has received $10,000 to be used for students‘ tuition and fees for the upcoming academic year, 2009-2010. Selected seniors at-risk of graduating at Keaʻau High School or who prefer an alternative learning environment can earn up to 12 college credits from HawCC. Although middle colleges which award dual credit, high school and college, exist in many states across the U.S., Keaʻau Middle College is the first such program in the State of Hawaiʻi through a partnership between the Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi.

Through Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, two funders have granted $5,000 each to go to Keaʻau Middle College opportunity scholarships. The first one is the Hawaiʻi Island Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation which was set up to address critical issues on Hawaʻi Island. Currently, the fund is focused on programs that promote positive social behaviors for young people in East Hawaiʻi. The second fund is the Pahiki Nui Fund at the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation. This fund was set up by Clytie Mead and Peter Sparks to increase the probability of success for students attending public schools on the Big Island. Diane Chadwick, philanthropic services officer of Hawaiʻi Island stated in the grantee letter: "We are excited about your project and believe it is the kind of work that can help to make a difference in Hawaiʻi."

Keaʻau Middle College is housed at Keaʻau Youth Business Center (KYBC) in Keaʻau Town Center which is coined "a learning studio for the 21st century". The facility touts a state-of-the-art multimedia computer lab and sound recording studio, a certified mobile kitchen trailer, in addition to a general classroom area. Students in the middle college program have the opportunity to do skill building in digital media arts, culinary arts, and sound recording. KYBC also supports an After-School entrepreneurial program in the three skill-building areas.

It released its first CD, "Na Ano (Native Seeds), Vol. I" with music created and performed by Big Island youth attending the music/sound recording training at the center. The CD was engineered and mastered at the Ohia Lehua sound recording studio located in the facility and is available for sale at CD Wizard and Borders Books and Music in Hilo, Native Books in Honolulu, and online at Some of the youth artists will be featured in the June 7 Na Mele Nei Concert at Ward Warehouse at 2 p.m. All proceeds from the CD go back into sustaining the programs at the center. For more information, contact Trina Nahm-Mijo at (808) 974-7551.