Scholars Program

Scholars Program

Scholars Program

About the Lunalilo Scholars Program

The Lunalilo Scholars Program (LSP) is more than a financial aid scholarship. It is a transformative opportunity for promising individuals who are financially at risk.

Funded by the Kaneta Foundation, the Lunalilo Scholars Program provides students with the means and personalized support they need to start a new life during their first year of college at Kapiolani Community College.

Students of Native Hawaiian ancestry are given preference to increase the number of Native Hawaiian students that enroll and complete the first year of college. Community partners, including feeder high schools and social service agencies with access to underprivileged, Native Hawaiian, and non-college-bound students refer applicants to the program through applications and referral forms.

The Lunalilo Scholars Program is also dedicated to creating educational programs built on Native Hawaiian identity. The Summer Bridge Program prepares scholars for the academic rigor of college and scholars build a common bond with the same cohort of students and peer mentors throughout the first year. For scholars that are interested and meet the qualifications, second-year scholarships are available for those that give back to the program by becoming peer mentors. These peer mentors learn valuable leadership skills while providing academic and personal support to the new cohort of scholars.

Many start the program with little more than a strong desire to work hard and achieve success. Some are near the brink of homelessness or stuck in low-paying jobs without possibilities for career advancement. Once admitted to the program, Lunalilo Scholars gain confidence, peer support, and skills. They begin to see hope and realize they can take steps to break the poverty cycle, find their purpose, and give back to their community.

Recent Achievements and New Initiatives

Check out our 2023 – 2024 Lunalilo Scholar Graduates! From Summer 2023 through Summer 2024, Lunalilo Scholars racked up 37 associate degrees, 23 bachelor degrees, and 1 masterʻs degree! Hoʻomaikaʻi Lunalilo Scholars!

In partnership with the Math & Science Department this year, we created a sustainability academic cohort. As a result, seven of our 2023-2024 Lunalilo Scholars earned an academic subject certificate with a concentration in sustainability issues in their first year, and five more will in the upcoming summer and fall. These cohorts along with the addition of several more will continue the next academic year.

Lastly, the first second year scholarship to a former Lunalilo Scholar pursuing a selective admissions health major went to Christine Atonio (LSP 2018 and former Peer Mentor). She was a graduate of the 69th Class of Emergency Medical Technicians at Kapiʻolani Community College. This scholarship was especially significant because the EMT Program does not qualify for any federal funding.

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