Courtesy of History: Kamehameha Schools
While the pandemic has created stress and financial hardship for Pearl Bachiller’s family, the crisis has also provided the senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui with an unexpected opportunity.
She hopes to enter Hawai’i University in Mānoa this fall in her second year. Bachiller was able to accelerate his studies with KSM’s switch to distance education last year and the launch of KS Digital, a gateway to a range of educational technology tools, K-12 accredited education and content based on Hawaiian culture.
“When distance learning came along I really liked it and was able to learn to manage and manage my independent life more like I would in college,” she said.
Even when the school shifted to a hybrid model, Bachiller chose to pursue distance education with courses offered through the KS Digital partnership with Arizona State University. Thanks to ASU Prep Digital, a K-12 online school, she said she was able to move forward since classes were posted for the entire semester.
“I’m lucky to be the kind of student who can sit at home and do all my work because I know a lot of people have a hard time keeping attention and stuff, but this was really lucky for me to start doing it because I really wanted to do distance learning, ”Bachiller said.
The 18-year-old started working part-time at a dessert store in the summer before her freshman year. Juggling a job and homework wasn’t easy, but the flexible schedule with online learning helped.
“I used the money to save for higher education, but I also help at home to cover the bills and everything, especially since the pandemic has forced my father, who is like the main support of family from our home, to retire from work, ”Bachiller explained. “My brother and I have helped a lot, and it really helped me learn how to fund myself and whatever else I want to do. “
Since Bachiller’s only remaining high school requirements are to complete a few one-year courses, she filled her final semester with online courses from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Leeward Community College and from Kap’iolani Community College. She paid for them herself and chose courses that are requirements for the biology degree she plans to pursue.
“Pearl is exceptional,” said Lauren Noa, KSM Learning Success Coach. “I know COVID has brought its fair share of challenges, but sometimes I feel like it’s the silver lining in some of these things that we see, especially when it comes to education. A whole bunch of other doors have opened, I think.
Bachiller is delighted to meet her classmates during the launch activities. She is also looking forward to exploring the next chapter in her educational journey.
“Even though going to school and being there in person is important for our development, and I also understand that it is important that KS is there for us, I think that offering this option is also very useful for children like me. “she said.