Welcome back, future leaders

PUHI — Kiana Pagador, a first year student at Kauai Community College, was excited, although a little soggy from the effects of tropical storm Kilo, Monday morning.

“It’s good so far,” Pagador, a graduate of Kauai High School, said. “But it’s hot. I’ve got 12 credits working toward my liberal arts, and it’s fun meeting all the new people. I’m really excited about the freedom of being an adult — getting up on my own, being responsible for being on time on my own, and even packing my own lunch.”

Pagador was one of 1,314 students who opened the fall semester at KCC, a decrease of 1.7 percent over the 1,337-student enrollment in the fall of 2014, according to an unofficial census from the University of Hawaii System, Institutional Research Office. The students are registered for 11,336 semester hours, a decline of 7 percent from the 12,193 semester hours in 2014.

“We just had about 45 early college students registered from the high school,” said Earl Nishiguchi, KCC vice chancellor of student affairs. “People are always late in registering, but this gets us to about the same level we were last year. We also have late registration taking place through Friday afternoon and that will help our enrollment.”

Nishiguchi said the early figures are a lot better than the double-digit decrease the college was anticipating.

Lily Safaie of California and Sasha Marshall of Washington were late for class, only pausing briefly to say they were pursuing courses in pre-nursing.

Rowell Pasion is a student returning to school following a two-year break.

“It’s great to come back after two years,” Pasion said. “I’m studying culinary arts with the aim of becoming an executive chef one day.

Cammie Matsumoto, KCC director of community relations and special projects, said adding to the excitement of the first day of school, the school’s library has been relocated while its being worked on.

“The learning resource center has been renamed to the learning commons,” Matsumoto said. “The concept is to combine the library, mentoring and tutoring.”

Anchoring the new learning commons center, Maile Abell was manning the Kipaipai Project tent offering help to new students as well as a free pen to help them on a successful student path.

Matsumoto said the college also added new instructors for philosophy and religion, as well as an assistant teacher for the new child care center which was scheduled for a visit by Hawaii state legislators, including Hawaii Senate President Ron Kouchi and Jill Tokuda, the head of the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee, on Monday.

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