Chuukese student graduates from Hilo High and HCC, looks to his future at Columbia University – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-05-27 11:20:23 –

As the first Hiro high school student to graduate from high school and community college at the same time, young Chukese students are eager to set a positive example for all Micronesian students.

On Friday afternoon, 18-year-old Ed Ateria Poch-Yeichy graduated from Hiro High School as one of 22 graduates.

High school opening began a week after Poch-Yeichy graduated from Hawaii Community College, where he attended an early college program and graduated with an associate degree in liberal arts.

This fall, Poch-Yeichy will move to New York City to attend Columbia University on a four-year full-ride scholarship to pursue medicine.

The Poch-Yeichy family is from Chuuk, one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia. His parents were part of the first wave of Micronesian immigrants to the island in the late 1980s.

Poch-Yeichy and his brother were born in Hiro and have lived here for the rest of their lives.

“My parents decided to come to school and make their lives better,” said Poch-Yeichy. “At the beginning of the time here, everyone got along and the culture didn’t change much.”

Over time, the way his family was treated by the island community changed. He said hatred and discrimination began to intensify as more Micronesians migrated to the state.

“In my life, I’ve always wanted to return to my parents’ more acceptable hometown,” said Pock Jacey. “They are smart and stubborn, but despite discrimination, they decided to continue building our lives and future.”

Since he was born in Hiro, Poch-Yeichy’s experience was a little different from his parents. He rarely faced complete racism, but he will often hear discriminatory remarks from his peers.

“It was hard to be a strange person from an early age. When I said I was from Micronesia, I sometimes had a funny face,” says Poch-Yeichy. “Sometimes I’m told I’m different from other Micronesians, but then I’m wondering. What would we be like?”

Poch-Yeichy believes that his cultural denial comes from news coverage of a law-breaker who happens to be a Micronesian. Many people do not pay taxes, raise families, or see or hear hard-working workers trying to do good in their communities.

“I think we’re judged by bad apples, but every culture has bad apples,” said Poch-Yeichy. “It’s not fair to everyone, so we can’t let one person speak the whole community.”

Negative stereotypes about his people in Hawaii fuel Poch-Yeichy to work as hard as he has at school. He wants to set an example for young Micronesian students by achieving their goals.

“It’s important for me to set an example, as our community has no voice to defend us,” said Poch-Yeichy. “We want to do something positive to show people that we are not all the same.”

Poch-Yeichy plans to take advantage of his immense passion for his people and other undervalued communities to attend medical school and become a surgeon. Ultimately, he wants to take everything he has learned on the mainland and return to Hilo to serve the community.

Poch-Yeichy’s ultimate goal is to help the people of his hometown and then open his own medical facility in Chuuk, which has only one hospital on the main island of Weno.

“My advice to young scholars in Chukese is to find something you are passionate about. You will want to work hard towards that passion,” said Poch-Yeichy. .. “Medicine is not my passion. Medicine is my tool or craft that allows me to help my people and the undervalued community, and that is my passion.”

Guidance counselor Kellie Frias has been working with Poch-Yeichy since the 10th grade of Hilo High. Frias saw him for two and a half years simplifying the look while balancing the perfect college and high school schedule.

“There is no good word to describe who Ed is as a student and as a person,” Frias said. “He’s responsible and polite, but he’s still a kid. He knows what he wants to achieve and is doing his best to achieve it.”

When Poch-Yeichy moved to New York City to attend Columbia University in the fall, it was the first time he left the state and went to the mainland.

“I don’t think Ed will make any difficult transitions to college other than getting used to the weather,” Frias said. “He’s very open-minded about everything. He takes everything and knows how to handle his responsibilities, whatever his responsibilities.”

Poch-Yeichy received a full ride scholarship from Questbridge. This is a program that helps highly-skilled students pay for their dream school despite financial difficulties.

He cannot transfer college credits from HCC to Colombia, but Poch-Yeichy can take high-level courses when he starts as a freshman.

“I liked going to HCC and sitting among older students,” said Poch-Yeichy. “There were so many people and I was able to learn about the real world outside of high school. It was a great experience.”

Eddie Poch-Yeichy, Poch-Yeichy’s older brother, encouraged teenagers to pursue early college programs.

“My brother Eddie was the first in the family to graduate from college and law school,” said Ed Pock Jacey. “I respect him. He is my moral compass and taught me to do everything in the name of our parents.”

Eddie Poch-Yeichy works as a legal officer for Judge Henry T. Nakamoto and took a break to drive his brother at the HCC graduation ceremony on May 14.

“Ed may be one of the younger members of the family, but we all respect him,” said Eddie Pock Jacey. “He is a true example of how hard Micronesian citizens are. I am at a loss how proud I am.”

Eddie Poch-Yeichy hopes that his younger brother can use his work to motivate young public school students in Micronesia and Chukese to achieve higher goals.

“There is a lot of self-doubt that comes from living as a Micronesian in Hawaii,” said Eddie Pock Jacey. “I hope that everything Ed does can inspire young people and help them stay calm.”

Eddie Poch-Yeichy will miss his brother when he goes to college, but he’s excited to experience life on the mainland.

Ed Poch-Yeichy plans to spend the summer with Hiro as much as possible while spending a fulfilling time with family and friends.

“My parents haven’t stopped playing the drive-through graduation video from HCC,” Ed Poch-Yeichy said. “It feels great to be proud of them. I want them to continue to be proud of my life.”

Send an email to Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

Chuukese student graduates from Hilo High and HCC, looks to his future at Columbia University Source link Chuukese student graduates from Hilo High and HCC, looks to his future at Columbia University

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