Hawai‘i Community College Early College student wins statewide award

Hawai'i CC also honored for preparing students for successful careers

Hawaiʻi Community College
Thatcher J P Moats, (808) 934-2506
External Affairs/Rel Coord, External Affairs and Relations
Posted: May 4, 2015

Derek Larson
Derek Larson

A Hawai‘i Island high school student who has also been enrolled in classes at Hawai‘i Community College (Hawai‘i CC) was recently honored for his accomplishments with a statewide college and career readiness award.  

Derek Larson, a senior at Konawaena High School, was presented with the statewide “Student Readiness Award” at the Hawai‘i ACT State Organization Conference in Honolulu on April 17. In addition, ACT has announced that Larson is one of just four semi-finalists who have been nominated for the national Student Readiness Award.

The Student Readiness Award recognizes academic accomplishments, college and career readiness, and success in extracurricular activities.

Larson has a 4.2 high school grade-point average and is also on the Dean’s List at Hawai‘i CC where he has a 4.0 grade-point average. Larson is involved in extra-curricular activities, including sports and community service.  

During the past year, Larson has been enrolled in Hawai‘i CC classes as part of the college’s Running Start program. Running Start and other Early College options at Hawai‘i CC allow Larson and other high school students to enroll in Hawai‘i CC classes and receive “dual credit.” That means their Hawai‘i CC classes count as both high school credit and college credit.

Larson is projected to graduate from high school having already completed 36 college credits.

Larson will attend The Sage Colleges in Albany, N.Y. this fall where he will major in nursing and also enroll in pre-med courses.

Taking science classes at Hawai‘i CC while in high school helped him choose the medical field for his undergraduate studies, said Larson.

“I was really able to explore the sciences, anatomy, microbiology, and that led me to wanting to join the medical field,” Larson said.

The Hawai‘i CC classes will also reduce the cost of his four-year degree because some of his pre-requisites are already complete, said Larson.

Jason Cifra, Hawai‘i CC’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, said Larson is a great example of why Early College opportunities are provided to students.

“Derek has used Early College courses from Hawai‘i CC to become college-ready, and we are excited that he is being recognized by ACT,” said Cifra.

At the conference in Honolulu, Hawai‘i CC also received special recognition as the recipient of the “Career Preparedness Award.”

In announcing the award, the Hawai‘i ACT State Organization said, “Hawai’i Community College made significant strides helping its students prepare for a successful career. Hawai’i Community College serves as a role model institution for others.”

For more information about Hawai‘i Community College’s Early College programs, call (808) 934-2726 or visit hawaii.edu/runningstart.


Hawai‘i CC does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, or disability or other protected classes in its programs and activities. For inquiries or complaints concerning our non-discrimination policies, please contact: Disabilities Counselor, Section 504 Coordinator (808-934-2725, Hawaii CC Bldg. 388-Room 106) or Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Title IX Coordinator (808-934-2509, Hawaii CC Bldg. 378).