LIHUE — Their roads to earn diplomas might be considered untraditional, but the class of 2015 graduated because of hard work and determination just the same.
“These students, graduates of the McKinley Community School for Adults Kauai campus, have worked hard to overcome incredible obstacles and we applaud their achievements,” said Helen Sanpei, principal of the McKinley School for Adults. “Earning a community school diploma is an awesome accomplishment, which has the capacity to bring endless opportunities by opening up more doors in their lives that would not exist otherwise.”
Gordon Shibao, a McKinley school for adults staff, said the graduates who were honored at Kauai High School on Tuesday represent a combination of GED graduates, including GED with Competency Based, and GED with HI-SEI.
“These students represent the ones who successfully passed the test,” Shibao said.
Taryn Moura was one of the graduates, noting she had a daughter, Tylyn Sarmiento, 3, “who is already smarter than I am.”
Moura said she also plans on continuing her education while continuing to work at Martin and MacArthur in The Shops at Kukuiula.
“I’m going to keep on doing this, learning,” she said. “This is great. I was supposed to do this a long time ago. It was my family who kept telling me to do this.”
The community school for adults program was suspended three years ago, but returned under the McKinley Community School for Adults.
Armed with their high school diplomas, all of the graduates are looking toward the future.
“My brother couldn’t finish high school because he was ill,” said Alicia Medina. “I got put in this program by my parents because I was a troublemaker. I’m grateful for being here, and will now move ahead. I’ll be starting in accounting at the Kauai Community College June 12.”
Ladeveon Jones said his girlfriend, Caitlyn Rapozo, kept encouraging him to complete the program.
“It was kind of hard at first,” Jones said. “But it got easier, and I think it was easier than regular school. I have a young one coming and I’m planning on going to work and continue school. I hope to become a firefighter.”
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki congratulated the students and their families on the accomplishment.
“You made tremendous sacrifices in getting to this point, the first step toward lifelong learning,” Arakaki said. “Your families made sacrifices to get you to this point.”