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  • Writer's pictureHawaiʻi State Senate


On Friday, July 21, Senate Vice President Michelle N. Kidani (District 18, Mililani Town, Waipiʻo Gentry, Crestview, Waikele, portion of Waipahu, Village Park, Royal Kunia), Senator Herbert M. "Tim" Richards III (District 4, North Hilo, Hāmakuā, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kona), and Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz (District 17, portion of Mililani, Mililani Mauka, portion of Waipiʻo Acres, Laulani Valley, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village) attended the Student Empowerment and Leadership Conference hosted by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education's Alternative Learning Programs, Supports, and Services (ALPSS). ALPSS provides supportive environments that help students rise above adversity to thrive.

The event was the culmination of a week-long conference where student leaders stayed at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa dormitories and embarked on an educational experience led by teachers and professionals regarding various career paths; from Video Production, OSHA-15, to Student Empowerment and Leadership. Chosen leaders from each participating school shared their experiences as change agents in their communities to the audience and presented their policy proposals to the Senators.

"As Senate Vice President and Chair of the Education Committee, I am truly honored to participate in the ALPSS Summer Student Summit at UH Mānoa,” said Senator Kidani. “Alternative learning programs in public schools offer invaluable benefits by providing diverse and flexible educational approaches that cater to individual learning styles which foster a supportive environment that encourages creativity, critical thinking, and personalized growth."

“What we witnessed today reaffirms our commitment to the Alternative Learning Program,” said Senator Dela Cruz. “This Student Showcase was a reminder that it is never about where you start but how you finish. The Alternative Learning Programs help change the trajectories of our most vulnerable students and provide environments for them to grow through their adversities.”

"I firmly believe in the power of quality education for all,” said Senator Richards. “The ALPSS program exemplifies our commitment to ensuring every student has a fair chance to obtain that education -- every student's success is our priority. This program can be transformative especially for some of our rural and underserved students."

Senator Tim Richards

“The Senate is proud to support a program that saves lives and helps establish Hawaii as a global leader for positive change,” said Senator Dela Cruz, “I commend Director Nishimura and her staff on their commitment to disrupt pathways to prison, prostitution, and poverty.”


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