The start of the second semester at Island Pacific Academy brings with it an annual tradition: IPA Alumni return and share their college experience with our current juniors and seniors. The young alumni coming to offer advice and insights vary each year depending on their individual college, university, or work schedules. Part of the morning includes a welcoming breakfast for the alumni, many of whom have been missing some of the local breakfast items if their college choice took them away from Hawaii.
This year’s group of alumni was one of the largest ever to come back ready to share with current high school students their college experiences and life lessons learned. Bernadette Axelrod, Director of Advancement, credits this to the involvement of the IPA Alumni Association. “Kelsey Uehira (‘11), the current IPA Alumni Association president, took a really active role in organizing this event, contacting the alumni, emailing reminders, and then came to help during the morning,” says Axelrod.
Kelsey Uehira (’11) in red sweater, briefs the alumni on the agenda for the morning. Uehira is president of the Island Pacific Academy Alumni Association and is a 2015 graduate of the University of Hawaii-Manoa. KJ Agag (’13) seated on stage with hands in the air, is also an officer for the Alumni Association. Agag attends Gonzaga University.
Alumni, two to three per table, have discussions with juniors and seniors telling them what they have discovered so far in their college experience. “We call this part of the Alumni Breakfast ‘Speed Alumni’ since we have the alumni get up and move to a new table every so many minutes,” says Kori Shlachter, College Counselor.
“This is an opportunity for our juniors and seniors to ask questions from students who were just like them only a few years or even a few months ago,” explains Axelrod. “Nothing beats hearing advice from the school’s own alumni. They’ve been through the same or similar classes, had the some of the same teachers, made it through the deadlines and exams, and now are experiencing the next phase of their academia.”
Taylor Kayser (University of Wyoming), a 2013 IPA graduate, fielded questions about moving to the mainland to attend college.
“This morning with the Alumni starts to make things very real for the seniors,” says Director of Student Activities, Nydia Santiago-Cordero. “In just four and a half short months they will be the ones taking their final high school exams, going to Commencement practices, and then walking across the stage on graduation day.”
“Some of our seniors have already been accepted to and decided on a college at this point,” says Shlachter. “It’s exciting for a senior if we have an alumni attending one of their chosen colleges or universities here at the breakfast. They can ask so many questions.”
Mahalo to the IPA Alumni who attended this year’s Alumni Breakfast! Sharing your college experience is so appreciated by everyone at IPA.