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LHS boarders join mentoring program to prepare for future careers

By Staff | Jan 1, 2015


LAHAINA – The Lahainaluna High School Boarding Department has joined the Alternative Learning Center’s 15-year-old mentoring program that helps students prepare for career pathways following graduation.

Established and guided by ALC Director Lance Morikawa, the program helps the high school seniors enter a work-based learning situation outside of the school setting to establish a pathway to future employment.

Students are mentored in the interview process, specific job situations, career expanded exploration and work ethics in the real world.

Lahainaluna Farm Foreman and football coach Bobby Watson saw the opportunity for the boarding students that he oversees in the school’s work study program to gain the same benefits as Morikawa’s ALC kids.

“We saw the way this program built a network for these kids to learn real life skills; to have a real life experience they could build their future on. They are mentored by highly experienced business leaders, go through mock interviews, learn how to fill out applications and go through real work shadowing situations. It is a win-win situation for everybody,” said Coach Watson at the afternoon appreciation luncheon held recently in the school cafeteria.

The Lahainaluna High School Boarders’ Chorus sang at the appreciation luncheon held recently in the school cafeteria. PHOTO BY WALTER CHIHARA.

Morikawa started the program in 1999 by contacting friends at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and recruited their staff to help the students he mentors at the ALC.

“It’s grown and grown over the years, and it really shows how the Lahaina community goes above and beyond to help the kids learn work ethics, self-confidence and self-respect,” said Morikawa.

He added that since the program’s inception, other businesses that have come on board include the Old Lahaina Luau, Honu, Mala, Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Westin Resorts, Kaanapali Ocean Resort, Kaanapali Coffee and many others.

He also mentioned establishing a connection to the University of Hawaii Maui College in the future.

“The Lahaina Rotary Club has also been instrumental in helping the kids get ready for these internship opportunities. They have been terrific – everyone connected to the program has,” he said.

Several others were recognized at the recognition event. Morikawa and Watson had particular praise for Shannon Fields, Lori Gomez Karinen, Victoria Zupancic and Mike Arakawa.

“The whole community has stepped forward to help these kids have a better future. I have had several of them come back and thank us for helping them take those steps to prepare for their future. This is the rewarding and satisfying part for me,” concluded Morikawa.