Navigating Success has been used on Hawaii Island for the annual Pacific Youth Empowerment for Success (PacYES!) conference. In March 2017, a decision was reached to use the website to stage the intended goal of a statewide initiative to support the success of Micronesian youth in the local high schools.

Hawaii Island

The Navigating Success youth empowerment movement began in 2012 by Vidalino Raatior of the Pacific Islander Student Center at UH Hilo at the request of Walter Lanwi, a Marshallese leader from the Kau / Oceanview area. Seeing the lack of aspiration for a college education among the Marshallese youth at Kau High School, Mr. Lanwi requested his former high school teacher at Xavier High School, Vid Raatior, to provide a unique college day experience for his youth. He believed that meeting other Marshallese college students will boost their confidence and inspire them to consider college as a viable journey.  That began College Day 2012.

College Day 2012

The first College Day for the group of Marshallese students was co-sponsored by the Pacific Islander Student Center and the Marshallese Iakwe Club (MIC) at UH Hilo. Other key departments at UH Hilo were invited to meet with the visitors to speak about the services available to them. These first partners included the International Students Services & Intercultural Education (ISS&IE), Minority Access & Achievement Program (MAAP), Financial Aid, Admissions, Student Support Services Program (SSSP), Upward Bound, and Kilohana The Academic Success Center. It was such a success that a larger conference was planned for the following year. See highlights>>

College Readiness 2013

In 2013, PacYES! was expanded to include students from all the local high schools on Hawaii Island with the partnership of Micronesians United – Big Island (MU-BI), a Hilo-based nonprofit organization, and over 30 UH Hilo departments, community organizations, colleges and universities from around the State. See highlights>>

Career Readiness 2014

In 2014, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney through Prosecutor Mitch Roth’s leadership, Councilman Greggor Ilagan,  and the ELL Program of the Hilo-Waiakea Area Complex through Nerie Padamada joined MU-BI and the PISC to expand the theme of the conference to Career Readiness. See highlights>>

Community Readiness 2015

The 2015 conference integrated the three previous themes to support the ongoing P-20 Partnership for Education theme of College, Career, and Community Readiness. Other partners including organizations, businesses, and individuals had joined the effort. PacYES! was largely funded by the County of Hawaii with small donations from the sponsors and partners. See highlights>>

Celebrate Micronesia Festival: In the Spring of 2015 a delegation 40 UH Hilo and HCC students, staff, and MU-BI leaders represented Hawaii Island at the first annual Celebrate Micronesia Festival and the first Micronesian Youth Summit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School on Oahu. Visit website>>

Micronesian Youth Summit: The 40 college students and staff joined other Micronesian college students on Oahu at the first Micronesian Youth Summit to discuss ways to improve success on college campuses as well as empower Micronesian high school students to consider college as a viable option toward a successful career. See highlights>>

Community-based 2016

In 2016, PacYES! became truly community-based, community-led with Micronesians United – Big Island (MU-BI) agreed to take the lead with the Planning Committee. The Hawaii Team comprises of representatives of the key sponsors including UH Hilo’s Pacific Islander student organizations, departments, programs, faculty/staff as well as the Hilo-Waiakea Complex Area, community organizations, businesses, and individuals. Once again, the PacYES is largely funded by the County of Hawaii, the Prosecutor’s Office, Micronesians United – Big Island, We Are Oceania (WAO), and other individuals. See highlights>>


Micronesian College Student Summit 2015

In 2015, a Micronesian College Student Summit brought together over 80 delegates from the colleges and universities in Hawaii to unite around common goals for the Micronesian population in Hawaii. Held at the Honolulu Museum of Art School on Sunday, March 29, 2015 as part of the Celebrate Micronesia festival, the schedule and speakers covered a number of topics to achieve these goals:

  • Goal 1: To discuss ways to navigate success in higher education without sacrificing our cultures and identities.
  • Goal 2: To share best practices and formulate some state-wide action plans of outreach efforts to the local high schools to help prepare Micronesian youth in Hawaii to succeed in college, career, and community.

Micronesian Youth Summit 2017

In 2017, a Planning Committee was formed led by We Are Oceania and student leaders from UH Manoaʻs Micronesia Connections to plan the first Micronesian Youth Summit for high school and middle school students. Inspired by the 2015 Micronesian College Student Summit at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, this Youth Summit is led by Oahu-based organizations, We Are Oceania, UH Micronesia Connections, and others to provide an opportunity for our Micronesian youth on Oahu to explore their strength, potentials, and futures.  Our program is geared toward middle and high school students. Register Now!

When: Saturday, April 15, 2017
Where: UH Manoa – Campus Center Ballroom
Time: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Register Now