On June 1st, 36 incoming high school juniors from around the state of Hawaii packed up their bags and headed to the Atherton YMCA for a free program called Y College Camp. Y College Camp is a leadership and college access experience for Hawaii high school students from underserved populations that supports, motivates, and encourages the students to graduate and pursue higher education.
During this week long experience, students from Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, and Molokai participated in a program of workshops, service projects, and team-building activities. They also toured the campuses of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Chaminade University, Hawaii Pacific University, and Kapiolani Community College.
Through the activities at Y College Camp, these students discovered more about themselves, experienced independent living in a college environment, and gained a better understanding of what they need to accomplish in high school to be able to attend college. Kayla Wa’ahila stated, “I want to get ready for college because I really want to be successful in life.” College student mentors also led the participants through the workshop. The mentors passed on their wisdom and provided a strong foundation of what to expect in college.
This was a unique experience for the students. Vanessa Ignacio from Waiakea High School exclaimed that she would never forget it, “It was so much fun!” At the end of their journey, all students received an official letter of conditional acceptance to the University of Hawaii at Manoa.