Friday, May 11, 2001

Marialourdez Bautista, left, and Francis Tabios were all smiles
at their Kapiolani Community College graduation ceremonies
at the Waikiki Shell last night. They both got their degrees
in Hotel and Restaurant Operations.

College students
Herculean feat

Strike-shortened semester
finds many cramming to finish

High school and college graduation schedule

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Student Kim Garcia got only four hours of sleep a night in the last two weeks at Kapiolani Community College to cram for her philosophy and computer classes.

Michelle, 27, a student who did not want to give her last name, was overwhelmed, working 40 hours a week, caring for her 6-year-old daughter and reading an extra chapter a day for her Accounting 202 class.

After the 13-day University of Hawaii Professional Assembly strike, Michelle said there was no time to ask her instructors for help when they returned to classes.

"It was like, 'Hey, this is it, learn it,'" she said. "I'm wondering what we missed. Do we need it later?"

More than 150 Kapiolani Community College students clad in silver caps and gowns received their associate degrees or certificates during the commencement exercises held at the Waikiki Shell last night.

Community college students were uprooted by the 13-day faculty strike that started April 5, painfully interrupting their education.

To complete the spring semester, officials shortened instructional days to 73 from 75 days. Six days of exams were converted to instructional days. Also, the last day of instruction was moved from May 2 to tomorrow.

Provost John Morton said students had to work harder during their last days of the semester.

"They really pulled together to make sure that tonight (last night) happens on time," said Morton.

During the strike, Michelle and other students worried whether the semester was going to be completed in time.

"We're glad it ended up being OK," she said.

Michelle, who received her associate's degree in marketing, said: "I'm lucky I had only two classes. I can't imagine if I had more."

Commencement exercises also will be held today at the following schools:

>> Leeward Community College, 5 p.m., LCC Tuthill Courtyard.

>> Honolulu Community College, 5 p.m., Waikiki Shell.

>> Kauai Community College, 6 p.m., Kauai War Memorial Convention Center.

>> UH Center Maui, 6 p.m., Maui Arts and Cultural Center McCoy Theater.

>> Hawaii Community College, 7 p.m., UH-Hilo Athletic complex.

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