A new beginning

PUHI — Enrollment at Kauai Community College changed from a deficit to an increase within a matter of minutes Monday.

When the doors to the Puhi campus opened for the fall semester, the initial student estimate showed a decline from a year ago. But by midmorning, unofficial estimates indicated 1,463 students registered.

This represents an increase of 1.2 percent, or 18 students, from the fall 2012 student count of 1,445 students. There was also an increase of 2.5 percent, or 324 hours, in student semester hours.

“What this means is students are taking more credit hours,” said Earl Nishiguchi, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. “We can hopefully increase these figures during this week when late registration takes place through Friday.”

Johnny Kanahele, a second-year student who graduated from Ke Kula Niihau Hawaiian school, was joined by freshmen Esaias Mose and Aukai Schraepfer-Kuapahi, both graduates of Waimea High School.

“We just finished our first class,” Kanahele said. “It’s pretty good, but the best part is meeting up with friends.

Schraepfer-Kuapahi and Mose nodded in agreement.

“This is pretty good,” Schraepher-Kuapahi said. “They give you more freedom than in high school, and I love my math teacher.”

Luther Yam, a former employee at Sears Automotive, was one of the students hitting the campus Monday.

“There are two of us who used to work at Sears,” Yam said while en route to pick up his text books.

“Kaina Lopez used to work at Sears Automotive and is in school, too. We’re completing our second year.”

Sears closed its automotive department in June.

Dr. James Dire, vice chancellor of academic affairs, said KCC is working on developing a new degree program, a certificate in automotive green technology.

“We are just beginning work on developing this,” Dire said.

“What it does is allow degree-holders to be able to take the new courses like the hybrid vehicle program which is starting this semester.”

Curtis Broyles is a new campus security officer.

“They created this new position in addition to the contract security for the campus,” he said.

Patricia Wistinghausen, the Campus Public Safety Department manager, said the CPS department was created to provide security, safety, emergency services in addition to addressing environmental health concerns.

“There are a lot of exciting things taking place on campus,” Wistinghausen said.

“Eventually, we hope to boost the department, but for now our focus is education, awareness and crime prevention on campus.”

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