GEAR UP, which stands for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, helps students prepare for college.
But his aspirations of attending college in America didn’t start out like most students in Hawaii. At the age of 9, he came here with his family from the Isabela province of the Philippines. He didn’t speak English, and learned the language through classes at Honowai Elementary. He then moved on to attend Waipahu Intermediate, before starting Waipahu High. Throughout his educational career, Juanito has immersed himself in a variety of activities and classes and has taken advantage of many educational opportunities to further himself.
Currently, Juanito carries at 3.98 grade point average, and is hoping to attend California Polytechnic University studying engineering. He also is president of Waipahu’s Skills USA, president of Science Olympiad and a National Honor Society member. And that’s in addition to running cross-country and track and field for the Marauders. Like many of his classmates, Juanito is taking advantage of Early College classes while still at Waipahu, enrolling in English 100. When he does get his acceptance into college, he will be the first in his family to attend a four-year college.
Juanito is the youngest of seven children and credits his father for being his inspiration and role model. “My dad works so hard,” he says. “He always talks to me and says to not worry about not having enough money — but just work hard.”
Learn more about GEAR UP Hawaii.