Kamehameha Scholars Program Receives National Award

July 15, 2017, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated July 12, 6:19 PM
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Kamehameha Schools’ statewide education program, Kamehameha Scholars, has received a national award from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Kamehameha Scholars is a community-based education outreach program helping high school students in both public and private institutions reach higher education goals.

ASCA named Kamehameha Scholars as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) for the programʻs commitment to deliver a comprehensive school counseling program and exemplary learning environment. Over 650 schools have been designated as RAMP recipients since the program started. Kamehameha Scholars is the first community education program in the nation to receive an ASCA award with the RAMP designation.

“This recognition highlights the value that this program places on the importance of post-secondary success as a key component to achieving a thriving lāhui,” said Kūamahi Community Education Managing Director Waiʻaleʻale Sarsona.

Kūamahi is a division of Kamehameha Schools’ Community Engagement and Resources Group and focuses on addressing educational needs that are specific to individual communities.

“As we prepare to enhance the already award-winning aspects of this program, we celebrate moving forward toward continued excellence,” said Sarsona.


Kamehameha Scholars was created in 2003 to serve more Native Hawaiian youth. The effort is a year-round career guidance and college prep program serving students from public and private schools statewide. Through the program, students are given the opportunity to match their skills and interests with colleges and career options for future planning.


“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA assistant director. “These programs used data to drive their program development and implementation so all students can achieve success. RAMP designation distinguishes these programs and encourages school counselors nationwide to strive for excellence.”

Kamehameha Scholars is currently open to students in grades 9 to 12 who reside on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, Maui and Kaua‘i. In school year 2015 to 2016, the program served a total of 720 students, including charter and home-schooled students.

Students can enter the program by completing an application and attending a summer orientation prior to their first year in the program. Kamehameha Scholars provides workshops and other counseling activities during non-school times throughout the year including weekends, evenings and during school breaks.


“The coaching and workforce and leadership development training in this program are crucial to lifelong success for individuals,” said Sarsona. “We believe that individual success means success for our entire community, and it’s great to see that our values align with the ASCA criteria.”

Kamehameha Scholarsʻ goals include:

  • Increasing on-time high school graduation rates
  • Increasing college readiness
  • Increasing college aspirations
  • Increasing postsecondary enrollment rates

As part of the programʻs statistical analysis, graduates of Kamehameha Scholars are:

  • Graduating from high school on time at a much higher rate compared with Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawai‘i as a whole (100 percent vs. 72 percent) and higher than the overall graduation rate for the State of Hawai‘i (80 percent).
  • Continuing to be accepted into college at a high rate (96 percent in school year 2014 to 2015).

For more information on the Kamehameha Scholars program, visit:

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