Three-hundred-eighty-five members of Maui County's public high school Class of 2015 have committed to earn the state Board of Education's Recognition Diploma, an optional graduation program that includes a senior project and completion of a more rigorous math, science and English curriculum.
All 20 students in the Class of 2015 at Hana High & Elementary School signed the "Step Up" pledge, part of the Hawai'i P-20 Partnership for Education campaign.
The optional diploma is designed to prepare high school graduates for successful entry into college or a living-wage job, the news release from Hawai'i P-20 Partnerships said. Students who earn the diploma receive special consideration for scholarships and job application advancement with various employers.
The Step Up campaign, which encourages Hawaii public school students to "Step Up" to the challenge of career and college readiness upon high school graduation and sign a pledge form, ends with the Class of 2015. All members of the Class of 2016 will earn a single college-and-career-ready diploma, the news release said.
More than 5,200 students statewide from the Class of 2015 have committed to earn the Recognition Diploma and more than 14,200 students from the Classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015 have signed the pledge.
"We congratulate these students for 'stepping up' to the challenge of earning the BOE Recognition Diploma and making a commitment to study hard during their high school years," said Karen Lee, executive director of Hawai'i P-20, a collaboration of The Early Learning Council, state Department of Education and the University of Hawaii. "College and career readiness is at the top of the state's education agenda, and the BOE Recognition Diploma gives students a clear pathway to preparing themselves for life after high school, whether they choose to enter college or the workforce."
A total of 119 schools in Hawaii participated in the Step Up Campaign over the past three years, and during this last year ending in early July, 20 high schools pledged 50 percent or more of their 9th-grade student body. Hana with its 100 percent and Molokai High with its 53 percent (43 students) were in that group.
The other Maui County high schools, students, and percentages follow: King Kekaulike, 107, 38 percent; Lahainaluna, 77, 25 percent; Baldwin, 100, 23 percent; Lanai High & Elementary, 3, 11 percent; Kihei Charter, 5, 7 percent; Maui, 30, 6 percent.
Although the pledge has officially ended, Hawai'i P-20 will continue to support its 14,200 Step Up Scholars through newsletters, referrals to college program opportunities, and financial aid and scholarship information until they graduate from high school.
Students and families may continue to visit the Step Up website www.stepuphawaii.org, which serves as an information portal to provide college and career planning resources.