By Lexus Yamashiro | Staff Writer

In 2017, The Kapiʻo News has published more than 300 pieces online for those of KCC and in the community to read. Kapiʻo staff writers have written and reported stories from several angles, producing articles that shared facts conveyed through interviews with various people and personal thoughts on topics that the staff writers felt strongly about. To wrap up the year, here are the top stories of each month that Kapiʻo has published in 2017.

January: Student’s Long Journey from Burma to US Continues at KCC by Kayla Valera
At the time, 17-year-old high school senior Gum Aung, who was taking college courses at KCC while still attending Kaimukī High School, shared the story of his and his family’s nearly decade-long journey to the United States. Originally from Myanmar (also known as Burma), Aung and his family were able to officially call themselves U.S. citizens as of December 2016.

“I want to inspire other people to follow their dreams, even if it can be difficult and sometimes seems impossible,” Aung said.

February: KCC, UH Professors Reflect on ‘Division’ in Trump’s 1st Month by Chris Takahashi
Within one month since President Donald Trump’s election into office on Jan. 20, questions were raised toward Trump’s campaign of how it would fulfill the promises of action in the Oval Office, his executive orders and international diplomacy, nomination of an executive cabinet, and political ideology. With Trump’s behavior being defined in the context of a political neophyte on the international stage by KCC and UH political experts, this story expressed the thoughts of these professors on Trump’s administration.

March: Former KCC Student Reflects on Transgender Journey by Kayla Valera
KCC graduate Camila Nutt, who was formerly known as Ryan, described that since the age of 4 she knew that she would come to identify as a female. The then 22-year-old shared her experience of growing up and how she was able to receive the support and understanding that she longed for in her college years than any of the years beforehand. Having shown concern for Trump’s decision made in February to roll back the federal government’s protection for transgender students, Nutt was relieved to know that she had the support of her former psychology professor, Philippe Gross, and friends who believed that a transgender student such as herself should be allowed and feel comfortable to use a restroom that reflects his/her chosen gender.

April: TRIO SSS Provides Campus Resources, Job Opportunities by Lexus Yamashiro 
For students Daniella Wallace and Nicholas Bowman, joining TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) was a decision that both were thankful of for the resources that TRIO had to offer to them. Students who are first generation in college, come from a low-income family or have a documented disability have the ability to apply for the program and receive services such as priority registration, financial help, counseling, tutoring and free printing just like Wallace and Bowman did. TRIO continues to extend its services, hosting educational and social bonding events as well as its first summer bridge program that was offered in the summer from June 19 to Aug. 11.

May: KCC Student Opens up About her ‘Disability’ by Gavin Arucan
Born with Morquio Syndrome, KCC student Maria McClellan gave insight to her condition and how it has influenced her to speak up and raise awareness for those with the same medical circumstance. Despite the progressive disease taking a toll on her body sometimes, the Vermont native serves as the president of Ka Poʻe Liʻiliʻi ʻo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi chapter of the Little People of America organization. As one of only two people in Hawaiʻi and one of around 300 in the United States to have Morquio Syndrome, McClellan is open about her disability and encourages people to ask her about her condition to avoid staring and strange glances.

June: Restoring a Historic Legacy: The Waikīkī War Memorial Natatorium by Chris Takahashi
Since the closure of the swim stadium and war memorial, there was little talk of what actions would take place for the historic monument that last opened its doors in 1979. However, with a design by Dr. Hans Krock, University of Hawai‘i Engineering Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Alfred Yee, who served as a consulting engineer on the design of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, to refurbish and open the memorial swim stadium to the public, the natatorium is in the process of going through restoration efforts.

July: KCC Alumnus Inspires Community Through Beatboxing, Motivational Speaking by Lexus Yamashiro
For someone who flunked the first grade when attending Liholiho Elementary School, Jason Tom, a former KCC student, found the motivation through his time in college to strive for better grades while further exploring his talent for beatboxing. Ultimately accomplishing a place on the dean’s list, membership with Phi Theta Kappa and a 4.0 GPA, Tom reaches out to his students and others in the community, encouraging everyone he speaks with to never give up on your dreams.

August: KCC’s Interim Chancellor Works to Move KCC Forward by Gavin Arucan
Since being appointed as interim chancellor for KCC in June 2016, Louise Pagotto has been working with a great deal of effort to showcase KCC’s greatness in preparation for an accreditation visit in Fall 2018.

“This is an institution where I felt, as a teacher, that I could try anything to make my work be satisfying and successful,” she said.

September: Senior Students Audit Classes at KCC by Kayla Valera
Close friends Janet Anderson and  Joan Larcom decided to audit classes at KCC through the Senior Visitor Program at UH Mānoa. Allowing seniors aged 60 and above to attend classes without receiving credit for free, the 81-year-old and 77-year-old decided to enroll in courses focusing on politics and media coverage to further understand the issue of the media’s involvement with politics after the election of President Trump.

October: Despite Fear of Sharks Surfer Still Enters Ocean by Sarah Hendrix
Knowing quite well that sharks tend to swim around the beaches of Hawaiʻi during the month of October, Hendrix shared that despite her fear for these marine creatures she continues to go surfing and swimming. After conducting research on shark attacks that have happened around the Hawaiian islands, Hendrix realized that the constant fear that she had was due to the unawareness of these attacks.

November: Microbiology Professor Forges Connections with W. African School by Kayla Valera
Haven established the base of what would build KCC’s Microbiology lab and Medical Laboratory Technical (MLT) program, Professor John Berestecky worked in the Peace Corps in between this formation to assist West Africans with the tuberculosis outbreak in 1979. With the knowledge of microbes after receiving his master’s degree in Microbiology, Berestecky was able to share his learnings with the University of Liberia and helped to update its Biology laboratory.

December: Experiencing ‘Operation Christmas Child’ Around the Globe by Sarah Hendrix
Through the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, an opportunity for people to pack Christmas gifts in a shoe box for “Operation Christmas Child” occurs annually to bring smiles to the faces of children in third world countries. For Hendrix, packing shoe boxes with gifts has been a tradition in her home since she was a child, sharing that it is still a joy to continue this practice every year during the holidays.

Beyond these stories that were outstanding for each month, The Kapiʻo News has published several other pieces that have stood out throughout the year. In January, a review of being in a sensory deprivation float tank for the first time was shared by former staff writer Chris Takahashi, while later in February a story highlighting an experience that KCC Communication’s professor Zach Giano had while doing humanitarian work in Palestine was reported by staff writer Lexus Yamashiro.

Creative movie reviews on “The Lego Batman Movie”“Wonder Woman” and other films were written by former staff writer and movie buff Gavin Arucan throughout the year. Spotlights on people of KCC such as Professor Lisa Bright and Maile Murphy are continually reported as a way to share inspirational, personal experiences that can help students, faculty, and staff build strong relationships amongst one another and a sense of community.

With 2018 just around the corner, The Kapiʻo News is proud of what has been accomplished and produced within the last 12 months. Although staff writers have come and gone, the student newspaper of KCC continues to strive to publish daily the latest news and trends to keep those in the community aware and up to date. From reviewing what has been presented to the campus and beyond, Kapiʻo looks forward to publishing more stories for the new year to come.