HONOLULU (KHON2) — It’s graduation season in the islands, a time to celebrate high school students’ biggest achievements. One local Farrington High School student is being recognized for going above and beyond.
On Monday, Farrington High School’s graduate Vanessa Pascua not only received her high school diploma, but also a college degree – an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts.
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“I was actually on the route for like AP courses until I (saw) the news article of the girl from Waipahu doing it, and then that’s when I contacted Mr. Honda and I was like, ‘oh, has anyone ever done this before and can I do it?,'” said Pascua.
Her college counselor, Regan Honda, put her on the path with the early college program. To earn an associates degree, a student has to complete 60 college credits which is equal to about 20 college courses.
“I said great, great, we’ll see how it goes,” said Honda. “And sure enough you know, every semester she kept going, you know, she kept persevering. And here we are today, it’s pretty unbelievable for sure. Yeah, we’re all so proud of her,” said Regan Honda, Farrington High School College Counselor.
However, it wasn’t always easy. Pascua also runs a business and works part-time as a dental assistant.
“From my freshman to, I believe the first semester of my junior year, I was still on campus and I was taking from two to three college courses on my high school campus,” said Pascua. “The second semester of my junior year and then my senior year, I was taking four college courses.”
Pascua said she pulled through, and wants to encourage other students to try it too.
“As long as you set your mind to it and persevere, you’ll get through it,” said Pascua. “It’s a great way for students to get a head start, and it’s a general idea of how the college experience really is, it’s just worth it, it’ll be worth it in the end.”
As for what comes next for Pascua, she is looking to obtain Bachelor’s Degree in Business, but she will always be remembered as the first Farrington High School student to graduate with a college degree.
“Vanessa has shown that, you know, it is possible when you set your mind to it. So we’re hoping that other future governors, you know, see what you’ve done and try to emulate her and do the same,” said Honda.
Honda said Farrington High School will be offering early college courses in the summer. The Department of Education has more information on early college courses for all public schools on their website.