A senior at Waipahu High School is the first Early College High School (ECHS) student in the state to earn her college degree before graduating from high school. Rovy Anne Dipaysa earned her associate of arts (AA) degree from Leeward Community College five months ahead of her high school graduation.
Dipaysa moved to Hawaiʻi from the Philippines in 2012 and enrolled in Waipahu Intermediate’s English Language Learner class. She credits the Early College program with helping her come out of her shell and boosting her confidence.
“When I was in seventh and eighth grade, I was really shy and sat in the corner not speaking,” she said. “Now, I’m able to confidently speak in public and know for myself that I can further my education.”
Earlier this month, Dipaysa completed enough college credit courses to earn her AA. She managed to do this by taking college-level classes at Waipahu High School starting the summer before her freshman year in 2014 through ECHS and later through a program called Running Start where she took courses at the Leeward campus.
“Rovy epitomizes the ‘grit paragon.’ She is studious, industrious and selfless with her time, which is evident in this extraordinary achievement,” said Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi. “Congratulations to Rovy and her incredible support system—from her family to her teachers. Also, a special mahalo to McInerny Foundation for their generous support of Waipahu’s Early College Program, their commitment of $1,587,000 million over six years has helped hundreds of students like Rovy to be college and career ready.”
Leeward CC Chancellor Manny Cabral calls Dipaysa an Early College pioneer.
“She was relentless in her pursuit of her educational goals and took advantage of all the opportunities afforded her, from working closely with our counselors to accessing the pilot program offering Pell Grants to high school students,” said Cabral. “She's leading the way for the many other Waipahu High School students who will be receiving their AA degrees in May 2018. We are all very proud.”
Dipaysa’s accomplishment amplifies the growing success of dual credit programs, such as ECHS, providing high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses across the state.
She is now focused on earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing with an eye toward a doctorate after that.
Early College High School Program
Early College is a dual credit opportunity that allows high school students in grades 9-12 to take college courses at their high school campus along with their high school peers. It is a collaboration between the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the University of Hawaiʻi, and students who successfully complete the college course earn both high school and college credit. UH currently offers more than 269 college-credit courses in public and charter schools, a more than 33-fold increase from the eight it offered in 2011.
Early College provides high school students with a rigorous academic experience and access to college coursework early, with the goal of ensuring that more students graduate with college credits and momentum toward their college degree. Earlier this year, the legislature appropriated $1 million in general funds for the Early College High School program.