Accolades News

Derrick Kang honored with "Counselors That Change Lives" Award

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Scot Allen

Mid-Pacific congratulates Director of College Counseling Derrick Kang, who was recently honored with a 2020 "Counselors That Change Lives" award. Kang was chosen by the Colleges That Change Lives membership and board of directors.

"By helping students frame their college searches beyond the ratings and rankings -- to find a college that provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life -- these counselors change lives," according to CTCL.

"My father once gave me a piece of advice that work should be something that is fun and you enjoy," Kang said. "I really do enjoy working with the students at Mid-Pacific. Every day is a little different because the students are all different. They keep me energized and engaged... and keep me smiling!"

Kang frequently travels to mainland colleges and universities and meets with recent graduates as well. "We always want to see how they are doing," he said. "Our job is more than placing students in schools, it's also about following up with them to see that their placement is suiting them. There are some really interesting places that our families are learning about. Students who attend these schools are very happy, so that's why I am involved with CTCL."

This honor is given in recognition of Kang's dedication to the college counseling profession as it reflects the mission of the Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) organization: to promote and support a student-centered college search process. CTCL is a non-profit organization that educates students, families, counselors and the public about the accessibility of a quality post-secondary educational experience and helps students find a best-fit college that develops a lifelong love of learning. The Counselors That Change Lives Award recognizes those whose dedication to the college counseling profession reflects CTCL ideals.

According to CTCL, "At any college event in Honolulu, you are likely to see Derrick Kang helping someone. He may be welcoming students and families; he may be setting up the tables for college representatives. Without pushing students before they are ready, Derrick offers programs to students and their families as early as ninth graders that are educational rather than recruiting oriented. That's a delicate line that Derrick walks with grace, humor, kindness, and great professional skill. He understands that Hawai'i students are going a long way, even when it's to the West Coast when they leave the Islands for college. Knowing that involving students' families in the bigger conversations about college can empower students to look more broadly, he helps students and their families to see the feeling of family that exists on small college campuses. Derrick visits many colleges and universities across the nation, and while on campus he connects to his Mid-Pacific graduates. Not surprising, Derrick's counseling is so personal that it frequently evolves into long-term relationships with students and their families, wherever they are."

"We know that you are a partner in our work to help students frame their search beyond the ratings and rankings and to help them find a college that will cultivate a lifelong love of learning," said Maria Furtado, executive director of CTCL. "Your tireless efforts do not go unrecognized and this program is our way of acknowledging all you do to help students and families in your daily work. Too often the media focuses on the negative aspects of the college admissions process and not enough on the individuals who are true to the counseling profession and who change the lives of students each and every day."