Act gives over 1.8 million for Hawai’i Promise Program

Community college students may receive more financial aid from an approximated 1.8 million dollar fund allocation. The Legislature appropriated a budget that includes grant funding for UH’s Hawai’i Promise program, helping students with various tuition and expense costs. Funding from grants will cover all tuition, transportation, fees and supply costs as needed. The Federal government, utilizing Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), will determine student levels of need.

The Promise Program (HB 1594) was initially conceived as an Administration Bill in the 2017 Legislature. Representative Justin Woodson, (former) House Chair of Education, introduced it in January. However, Legislature did not pass it. The Program is now being pushed as an item in the state budget.

Private citizens, college faculty, and continuing college students alike strongly advocated HB 1594 in previous public hearings. The House Committee on Higher Education unanimously passed it unamended with no objections on February 22nd. Regardless of, it did not completely move through the legislative process in late-April.

Judy Sokei, who works for Representative Woodson, said, “…by the time HB 1594 [passed] the senate, it underwent several changes…” One of these changes was that, instead of funding covering the Promise Program for 4 years, it covers it for 2. The program since then had moved under the General Appropriations Act of 2017. Doing so would mitigate the “risk [of] going to the governor and being vetoed.”

The Appropriations Act passed its final hearing in House on May 2nd and awaits the Governor’s greenlight. The bill includes allocation of $1,829,000-per-year for the Promise Program in 2018 and 2019.

UH Chief Financial Officer Kalbert Young says, “…it is still a very good thing that the Legislature provided explicit funding…” He explained that even if the Promise Program passed as a bill, funding would not be guaranteed.

John Morton, UH Vice-President for Community Colleges, said that the 1.8 million is in the University’s operating budget. Because of this, “typically…the funding remains in the budget without further action,” so it is secured.
Morton also said, “UH will establish the program formally within the executive policy on tuition,” since Legislature did not dictate specifics. Furthermore, he believes Legislature will help expand the funding if the Promise Program grows in demand.

By Chris Garcia
Ka La staff writer

Kawaii Kon 2017

When thousands of people with elaborate, colorful costumes, funky hair and intense makeup pour into the Hawaii Convention Center, it can only mean one thing: Kawaii Kon is here. Kawaii Kon is an annual 3-day celebration of Japanese culture, anime, and pop culture held in at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. This year’s Kawaii Kon’s 13th anniversary took place on April 7-9 and had over 10,000 attendees.
The rise of anime in the United States is seen through the popularity of mainstream children’s TV cartoons such as “Sailor Moon,” “Dragon Ball Z” and “Pokémon.” There are anime-influenced movies, too, most notably the recent Disney animated feature Big Hero 6.
For many attendees, Anime Expo is a time to show off costumes celebrating their favorite characters and each costume takes several months to complete. The cosplay environment at Kawaii Kon might be fun and lighthearted, but there’s a competitive aspect with the annual cosplay contest.
Cosplay is just one of the many activities that attendees can engage in. Kawaii Kon offers shopping for collectibles, independent art vendors, speaking panels and autograph sessions from anime voice actors, videogames testing, tabletop games, theaters for new movie releases and music concerts.
One of this year’s biggest attractions was the Sword Art Online movie screening, which recently debuted in select theaters across North America. What made it even more special was that the Sword Art Online movie screening was hosted by the North American debut of Kannae Ito, Japanese voice of Yui from “Sword Art Online”. Also in attendance were Zach Callison and Deedee Magno Hall, both voice actors in the “Steven Universe” cartoon.
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Take time to visit Maui lavender farm

Halfway down Haleakala’s side on the island of Maui, nestled along the ridge of the mountain around 4,000 ft. above sea level, is Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm. Ahead in the distance, as you enter the farm, is a view of the turquoise and white-capped waves crashing on the sandy shores. A large, dark stone statue of a meditating Buddha sits on the olive tree-lined hill to the left. A fine mist gently breezes across the side of the mountain and meets the sun’s rays, and a rainbow forms out over the deep, darkest blue part of the water. Near the entrance to the quaint gift shop is a tiny walking path through several types of blooming lavender. Scurrying about and hiding in the lavender flora are field mice, bees, and three-horned lizards.

The farm offers private or large group guided tours of its flowered grounds, both walking as well as cart tours for anyone hoping to learn about the different types of lavender, including its properties, benefits, and uses. Anyone is welcome to walk the path and tour the grounds on their own as well, which takes about an hour. On any of the tours one will also learn about the farm’s history and efforts to be sustainable. The path snakes through the unique flowering plants in the garden and ends back at the gift shop. “We did a treasure hunt at the farm. We had to find different places on the farm, like the gazebo, the big stone Buddha statue, and private lavender garden. When we brought back our stamps from each spot, we won lavender shortbread cookies,” Darrel Agno said.

Dozens of varieties of succulents line the beginning of the pathway, along with curvy, sculptured trees. One large tree to the right welcomes visitors with giant, yellow and orange hanging blooms that look like golden paper bells blowing in the breeze. “I really liked the big yellow flowers hanging in one of the trees; someone said it was very poisonous,” said Edlynne Harrel-Sanchez. There are flowers that look like sponges with spikes, ones that look like giant red, pink and purple artichokes. The colors and textures one can find in this garden are endless, and some plant species are only found on this small patch of land, on the side of a mountain, on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

While on the path one can hear the light patter of footsteps, bees buzzing, and the whisper of cool rain lightly tapping the brightly colored leaves and petals all around. The atmosphere is relaxing and invigorating at the same time. After the tour, one can venture past a few gently flowing fountains and carefully groomed plants and back into the gift shop.

Inside the gift shop there are samples of lavender honey and jams, lavender brownies, shortbread cookies, and other sweet treats. “I sampled the lavender-strawberry jelly. It was really yummy. I bought some to take home to my relatives, but I liked it so much I ate it all,” admitted Harrel-Sanchez. There are essential oils, soaps, satchels, balms, and salves. There is an outdoor seating and eating area where everyone can enjoy warm treats like lavender coffee and tea, or snacks like lavender lemonade and scones. “The lady at the gift store was really nice, and gave us extra cookies for our group,” said Agno. The ride back down the mountain from the sunrise viewing area at Haleakala is filled with stunning vistas, but it won’t be complete without a trip to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm.

Annual show offers a Kaleidescope of fashion designs

See photos from the 2017 HonCC fashion show

The Honolulu Community College Fashion Technology program presented its annual fashion show last month, presenting 12 student designers uniting to create beauty and design construction in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.
The show featured a prelude of fashions by junior designers prior to the senior showcase. Special guests this year included Gov. David Ige, First Lady Dawn Ige, and Honolulu CC alumni and Project Runway stars, Ari South and Kini Zamora.
Many Honolulu students and staff volunteered their time to create a spectacular show that included the construction of the runway ramp by the Carpentry Technology students as well as hair and make-up for the models by students in the Cosmetology program.
Founded in 1929, the Fashion Technology program has evolved into an innovative technologically advanced program launching numerous fashion design careers and garnering national attention. Program lead, Professor Joy Ann Nagaue was recognized in 2014 with the prestigious Governor’s Award for Fashion.

From inmate to graduate: A HonCC success story

By Chanelle Amoguis
Davida Aila’s bright smile overshadows a personal past of drugs and hardship.
Proudly wearing a light green HonCC shirt, Aila, a female welder and a non-traditional student, has overcome unexpected trials in her life in order to finally graduate from HonCC.
“I was in prison for a total of, with work furlough, about seven years,” Aila began. “I went to mainland [for] everything. So during that time I was locked up – you know, staying busy was really important in there. You can either be one lazy bum and just stay in your cell or your cube 23 hours a day, or you could actually do something and I was one of those that did stuff. So I wanted a job in the facility. I chose to do that. I was part of the outside workline and that’s where I realized that I really enjoyed being outside and doing hard work.”
Aila first attended HonCC in 2014, a year after being officially released from prison. Like many incoming freshmen, Aila had her fears attending college for the first time.
“I left high school with a point six G.P.A. I was scared I was going to be the oldest one there,” Aila said.
However, it was through joining programs and clubs on the HonCC campus that Aila was able to take the right path for the betterment of her future.
Through a close friend, Aila became greatly involved with programs such as CARE, TRiO-SSS, Hulili ke Kukui Hawaiian Center, and Phi-Theta Kappa.
“It’s like in school, I surround myself with people who are like-minded, so [in the] CARE office, everybody’s like-minded; the overachievers [of] Phi Theta Kappa; scholars and I just carry on in the same way as I do out there,” Aila said.
Despite Aila’s hardworking and positive attitude, she still went through many of the same struggles as other students.
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