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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, July 29, 2003

College launches 'talent search'

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KANE'OHE — Windward Community College has embarked on a search for disadvantaged youths who are qualified to attend college but are not yet set on that path.

WCC's federally financed Talent Search received a little more than $400,000 for two five-year grants to assist students who have the potential to succeed in higher education but lack the information to attain it.

Talent Search falls under the federal Trio Programs, educational opportunity outreach initiatives designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

This is Talent Search's first year at Windward.

But this isn't about singing and dancing, said Jan Lindsey, community liaison for Windward Talent Search. This is about identifying talents in such areas as math, science, English or music for instance and encouraging students to develop those abilities through education.

"The goal of the program is to help students stay in school, graduate on time and enroll in a college of choice right after they're done with high school," Lindsey said.

It is not a scholarship program, but offers career counseling, tutorial services and workshops for families.

Counselors will help them take the right courses, apply for financial aid and research college options.

About 1,200 students will be selected from targeted Windward and Honolulu schools each year, but applications from qualifying students that don't attend those schools will be accepted, said grant writer Sandy Matsui, Dean of Students at the Windward college.

Qualifying criteria include having low income, being the first generation in a family to enter college or having a physical or educational disability.

There is no deadline to apply, but space is limited and grade limitations may apply.

Targeted are Waialua and Kahuku high and intermediate, Kailua, Castle, Kalaheo, McKinley, Kaimuki and Farrington high schools and Washington Middle School.

"The Trio Programs provide support services to the nontraditional population of students who are now coming into higher education as a result of the civil rights movement and with student financial aid becoming available," Matsui said. "It helps reach the population of students that tend to fall through the crack."

At one time Kamehameha Schools conducted the largest Talent Search in the state but when the school decided to no longer accept federal money, Windward Community College decided to apply, she said.

The college has the only program on O'ahu, and the only other one is on the Big Island, Matsui said.

Trio Programs got their start in the mid-1960s at the same time that college financial aid became available. Students from Puerto Rico, across the United States and Pacific islands benefit from the programs.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.

• For more information or to apply, call 235-7482 or 235-7388.