Raemie Pagaduan ’06 found her calling during an internship at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School while she was getting her master’s at Chaminade.
“What drew me to school counseling was being able to be an advocate for students, being that voice for some students who might not have one,” Pagaduan said.
The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology alumna began her career at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School 13 years ago as a 7-12th grade counselor and is now the school’s college and career counselor.
Pagaduan’s passion for counseling, commitment to helping students thrive and her instrumental role in Nanakuli High and Intermediate School’s Early College program made her an ideal candidate for the 2019 Hawaii School Counselor of the Year, awarded by the Hawaii School Counselor Association.
Since Pagaduan started counseling at Nanakuli, the number of students participating in Early College has increased from one percent in 2010 to 18 percent in 2018. The rate of student enrollment at a four-year college has been the highest in more than a decade, at 24 percent.
The Early College program, which allows high school students to take college classes on their campus for high school and college credit, has been an important initiative to Pagaduan because many of her students will be the first in their families to attend college.
“I am a very strong proponent of putting minorities in places of power so that they can affect change,” Pagaduan said. “I think [getting an education] opens doors.”
The Chaminade alumna found out she won the award at an assembly held before the school year ended in front of all her students and the principal who nominated her. She said the students’ reaction, their clapping and cheering, was the best part and that she is humbled to receive this recognition. In January, Pagaduan will travel to Washington, D.C. to be recognized by the American School Counselor Association.
“[Nanakuli is] such a great place and that’s where you really see change and that’s where you really understand what hope is when you’re working with these amazing, amazing students,” Pagaduan said. “I just want to highlight Nanakuli and the people of Nanakuli who’ve taught me so much and made me the counselor that I am.”