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Hawai'i CC Updates: Me ka mahalo piha (with a fullness of gratitude)

Members of Hawai'i CC's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society volunteer at the 19th Annual Taste of Hilo.

Note: This column appears in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i Oshirase Newsletter for December 2017.

By Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas

During the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to those who have made our progress possible. Without you, we couldn’t help students pursue their dreams. Every day we count our blessings with the abundance of support from our island. 

Recent community support for Hawai‘i Community College includes the incredible partnership with JCCIH on the “19th Annual Taste of Hilo.” The sold-out event on October 22 was as terrific as ever, and it’s so heartwarming to know the community is attending not only to treat their palates but also to support students. JCCIH generously donates proceeds from the event for the benefit of Hawai'i CC students, and the event creates valuable service-learning opportunities for the Culinary Arts and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society students who volunteer. Mahalo to JCCIH and the 2017 Taste of Hilo committee chairs Kai‘u Kimura, Randy Kurohara and Tracy Yamaguchi for leading another great event!

A Hawai‘i CC student won a year’s tuition on October 30 through the Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition (HIPlan). Kainen Kahiwahiwa Bohol submitted a plan to use scrap materials from the campus’ welding shop to make Lava Forge Metalcraft. Mahalo to HIPlan Organizing Committee Co-Chairs Jim Wyban and Kelly Moran and other committee members for including Hawai‘i CC this year and adding the student category.

Hawai‘i CC hosted lawmakers from the Senate Higher Education Committee, the House Finance Committee and members of the Hawai‘i Island delegation this fall. I sincerely appreciate their interest in our campus and the opportunity to highlight how we are fulfilling our mandate and the needs facing the college.  We are grateful for their leadership and support and are comforted to know they have our back as we continue to achieve the Hawai'i promise of success for our students.

Mahalo to Blue Zones Hawai‘i for partnering with us on “Mālama Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui Garden and Service Day” on October 28. Over 50 community volunteers helped plant an herb garden for the Culinary Arts program, created a composting area, planted fruit trees, pulled invasive species, and more at the Pālamanui campus.

Speaking of the Culinary Arts program, there’s a terrific event on December 2: the “29th Annual Christmas with the Chefs.” The proceeds benefit our Culinary Arts students. Mahalo to ACF Kona-Kohala Chefs Association for their continued support.

These are recent examples of community support for Hawai‘i CC, and there have been many more during the past year. Mahalo nui loa to everyone who partners with us in the interest of student success and a thriving community.