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WCCC Holds Ceremony for Graduates of Culinary Arts

December 18, 2023
News Releases

HONOLULU —The Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) held a graduation ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, for women who earned a certificate from the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts Program as well as women who earned a certificate from the Windward Community College Psycho-Social Developmental Studies Program.

Ashley Nihipali — one of the six women who earned a certificate from the Culinary Arts Program — is also one of the four women who earned a certificate from the Psycho-Social Developmental Studies Program.

Nihipali delivered a speech during the graduation ceremony, saying she learned life-changing skills in both programs.   

Warden Ione “Noni” Guillonta of WCCC said, “I am so proud of these women that graduated (Wednesday), and we could not have done this without our community partners and our education staff. When the women entrusted to our care succeed, we all succeed!”

Director Tommy Johnson of the Hawai’i Department of Public Safety (PSD), said, “Programs such as these are not only uplifting to the participants, but also provide them with education and employment skills that will assist them with successful transition back into the community.” Johnson thanked the chefs who volunteered their time and talent, Windward Community College for their commitment to education, and facility staff. He also thanked the Women’s Prison Project for their unwavering support and dedication to improving the lives of incarcerated women.

The ceremony included a luncheon of scrumptious eats created by the new Culinary Arts’ graduates where students learned the fundamentals of cooking, safety and sanitation procedures, cooking techniques and more.  

Chef Instructor Lee Shinsato commended the new graduates for their dedication to learning new skills in culinary arts. “Education is power,” he said.  

Korean pork bao bun, kim chee cheesy onigiri, miso yaki swai with yuzu miso supreme sauce, bread pudding mounds and ube cheesecake tarts were among the ono eats and treats served to attendees and guests that included former Gov. Linda Lingle of the Women’s Prison Project, State Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D – Kane‘ohe, Kailua), PSD Director Tommy Johnson and Deputy Director of Corrections’ Sanna Muñoz.  

Graduates of the Psycho-Social Developmental Studies Program learned effective communication, listening skills, problem-solving, psychology of personality and more. The certificate is the first step for students planning careers in human services such as social work and counseling.  

Windward Community College Chancellor Ardis Eschenberg said, “We are so incredibly proud of our students who graduated with their certificates (Wednesday). Their hard work, coupled with the support of faculty and staff from both Windward Community College and the Women’s Community Correctional Center, transforms the future for them, their families, and their communities. We are grateful for this partnership.”

Media Contact: 
Rosemarie Bernardo
Public Information Officer
Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety & Hawai‘i Department of Law Enforcement
Office: 808-587-1358
Cell: 808-683-5507
Email: [email protected]