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A Fresh Start

Kūkuluao and Ka Lama Education Academy (KKLEA), an INPEACE (Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture) program, recently provided adults with a valuable opportunity to sharpen their basic math and English skills through a free refresher course held at the Kūkuluao classroom at the INPEACE offices in Wai‘anae. Nearly 40 people participated and though each one had a different reason for attending, they all had one goal in mind — to become more confident in their skills.

At first, participant Lester Benitez was scared to come to the course but he knew that by attending he could brush up on his math skills in order to pass a trade test to become a certified painter, a personal goal. “I wanted to become more confident and pass the test,” he says. “When I was approached by the teacher, Moana, I knew that I needed to sign up for the refresher class.”

Others, like Cynthia Ahn, took the course in order to pursue a higher degree and apply for college. “I want to become an elementary school teacher,” says Ahn. She is taking the course to help get admitted to a Bachelor’s degree program.

“I wanted to learn how to communicate better,” says 2011 KKLEA refresher course participant Keoni Inocelda. “It’s easy to forget [things] after high school, and this course helps you stay on track and motivated.” He shared his experience with the group of new students on registration night. Though he was initially intimidated by the course, he quickly realized most people felt the same way. “It helped to hear what people have to say, talking about their life. It helps overcome your fear,” he adds. This feeling of warmth and friendship helped with the coursework, making it comfortable to ask questions and reach out to fellow classmates or the teacher.

The KKLEA refresher course is a first step towards gaining important skills needed for a better job. It also helps prepare those interested in attending college so they can keep up with coursework without feeling overwhelmed. Inocelda knows this first hand. The class helped him feel confident enough to go to college. Now, he’s a sophomore at Leeward Coast Community College receiving both an A+ in English and math. “I feel proud,” he says.