PUHI — Students commuted to class in the rain Monday morning as spring semester started at Kaua‘i Community College.
“This is an exciting time,” said KCC Chancellor Helen Cox, returning for a brief stay at her office. “According to unofficial numbers, we’re up about 26 percent as of this morning.”
Cammie Matsumoto, KCC director of community relations and special projects, said the student enrollment will end up higher than first-day figures as late registration started Monday, attracting students to the One Stop Center where registration hours are from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
“Our parking lots are full,” Matsumoto said. “Students are parking on the overflow area in the grassy area. We have a full house right now.”
Matsumoto said 1,250 students, just one down from last year’s spring semester, braved the threat of inclement weather to attend classes at the University of Hawai‘i system campus in Puhi.
“This is the first time we’re using the new bookstore to handle the normal crowds during the first day of instruction,” she said. “There was a long line early this morning, but the bookstore is larger so it didn’t make the line look so crowded.”
One of the new students attending KCC is a student from Kona whom Matsumoto met earlier in the day. She said he plans to attend the culinary arts program at KCC after his father was transferred to Kaua‘i from Kona.
“This way, he can attend college while staying with his dad here,” Matsumoto said.
Duane Miyasato, having a long tenure with Roy’s restaurant in Po‘ipu, was one of the new faculty members greeting students.
Matsumoto said there are about a dozen new faculty members who were hired since the 2009 spring semester to take the place of others who retired.
Miyasato takes the place of Billy Gibson, a culinary arts department instructor who retired in December.
“Faculty members are a priority,” Matsumoto said. “We can hire faculty members, but no staff members.”
She noted there are still vacancies for faculty positions available throughout the University of Hawai‘i system and people interested can visit the University of Hawai‘i website at www.hawaii.edu and click on the “Work at UH” link for a complete listing of opportunities within the system.
With the return of the culinary arts personnel, Matsumoto said the KCC cafeteria is also back in operation from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
“People can visit the KCC website at www.kauai.hawaii.edu to find out not only the daily menu specials, but daily news as well,” she said. “The students have been working on the website, and in addition to the daily and fine dining menus, there are the special events such as days when special food like salads are available, bake sales, and more.”
The return of students to classes also marks the resumption of other programs benefiting the community.
These include the resumption of The Kaua‘i Community Market, a partnership with the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau, which resumed operation Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the front KCC parking lot.
Matsumoto said Cox will also be hosting some key people in Kaua‘i agriculture for a two-day meeting at the college to discuss an agricultural initiative this weekend.
The Garden Island Arts Council E Kanikapila program is also resuming.
The free weekly series runs from 6 to 9 p.m., Mondays, at Kaua‘i Beach Resort.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.