Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

College Capsules

Lancers earn college degree in high school
Early College students tour Chaminade University’s campus. The group of high school juniors is on track to earn an associate degree by the time they graduate next year. Photo courtesy of Simplico Paragas.
Early College students tour Chaminade University’s campus. The group of high school juniors is on track to earn an associate degree by the time they graduate next year. Photo courtesy of Simplico Paragas.

Starting this year, Sacred Hearts Academy students can earn a college degree while in high school. The partnership with Chaminade University continues the tradition of making education more affordable for students by allowing them to earn an associate degree. The Academy covers the cost of tuition for those accepted into the program. 

“I come from a poor background, so of course, I was happy when I was given the opportunity to be two years ahead (in college), free of charge,” junior Javilyn Francis said about the two-year program.

Previously attending Waipahu High School, Francis had hoped to apply to its Early College program. What she did not expect was to have the same opportunity at the Academy.

“I thought I wasn’t going to be able to achieve my goal,” she said. “But little did I know, I was going to be given another shot to actually make my dreams come true.”

The Academy’s first Early College group started off with the juniors of the class of 2025. They took “Introduction to Expository Writing” and “First Year Experience Seminar.” Both were 6-week courses completed asynchronously through a system called Canvas. The program invites professors to the Academy’s campus so that students do not have to commute. 

Currently, they are taking Communication 101, Biology & Lab 101, History 201 and English 102.

 “Research on early college programs nationwide indicates that participating students have higher educational aspirations and persist in and complete their college programs at a higher rate,” said the Academy’s President Dr. Scott Schroeder. “We expect those benefits of our programs with Chaminade University, too.”

According to Schroeder, the Academy began working with Chaminade in the fall of 2020. Having Chaminade professors on campus during the school day was a priority. Though there have been some challenges in starting the program, Chaminade has been a great partner school, according to Schroeder. Having the same values in regard to education and religion has allowed both Chaminade and the Academy to work together seamlessly, he said.

Early College students celebrate the last day of the first year with their peer mentor. Joeleigh Ballesteros (far left) is a junior at Chaminade University and helped the girls better prepare for college.

 “The intention of the Early College program, whereby students can earn their high school diploma and associates degree simultaneously, is two-fold,” Schroeder said.

One of the benefits includes students feeling more competent and confident in their ability to manage and succeed in college. Another benefit is that students are likely to receive one to two years of transfer credit at the university they attend. However, the granting of transfer credits will vary depending on the college chosen.

“I hope that I’ll be able to inspire more girls like me to not be afraid to go for it,” Francis said. “Girls that come from a poor background, first-gen(eration) girls and the girls whose ethnic group is a minority.” 

In the program, there is a diverse group of teachers with a variety of experiences and expertise, like Dr. Eva Rose B. Washburn-Repollo. She has been teaching at Chaminade for 19 years. With a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Pedagogy, Washburn-Repollo thinks that the program is an amazing opportunity for students who are advanced in high school. 

When it comes to transitioning between teaching college to teaching high school, there are some things that may need to be changed, she says. For Washburn-Repollo, she accommodated the high school students by teaching in parts and by including lots of breaks. 

“I think the number one thing that I changed is to make sure the examples are closer to the experiences of the students,” Washburn-Repollo said. Understanding the importance of the material was her priority. She also wanted to understand their perspective and how the students view the world.

Though it has only been a few weeks, Washburn-Repollo already feels a sense of community. She mentions how she can sense the energy of the students wanting to be here and wanting to be with each other. 

“I wonder if the independence of older college students actually detaches them from each other. The sense of community is strong in the high school group. There’s a lot of attention given to each other because you know each other and care about each other,” Washburn-Repollo said. 

Program coordinators hope this program will help students to be better prepared for college, while also making it more affordable. 

With recruitment for next year’s Early College group coming up in the spring, Schroeder says, “We hope that the program will continue for many years to come.”

About the Contributor
Lindsey Dimaya
Lindsey Dimaya, Reporter
Lindsey is a first-year Journalism student and is a junior at the Academy. Lindsey is also a part of the Chaminade Early College Program. Lindsey hopes to be able to learn more about the Journalism aspect of media since they already love the video and editing aspect. Besides that, Lindsey also performs for the Pacific Academy of Performing Arts. Because of the program, Lindsey now can do the splits and an axle.
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  • Danielle WooNov 9, 2023 at 11:18 am

    Happy to see things being written about the dual-degree program! Looking forward to more info!

  • PaigeNov 9, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Nice to know the benefits of early college class.

  • Chelstine TavaresNov 9, 2023 at 11:09 am

    “Amazing article, Linds! I absolutely love the impact Chaminade is giving to our girls and how our juniors realize that their dreams can come true staying ahead of the game!”