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Post-High School Outcomes of the Marshallese Graduates of the Kwajalein Jr-Sr High School Kwajalein, Marshall Islands

Douglas S Hepler, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) is a Pacific island nation located roughly half-way between Hawaii and Australia, consisting of 1,156 islands in 29 coral atolls spread out over 750,000 square miles of ocean with a population of approximately 74,000. Liberated from the forces of Imperial Japan in 1944, the Marshall Islands were governed by the United States as a Trust Territory of the United Nations until 1986, when they became an independent nation under the Compact of Free Association. This treaty allows the U.S. to maintain military bases in the Marshalls, the most important of which is the U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) installation in the Kwajalein Atoll. A second agreement allows a small number of Marshallese students to enter the American kindergarten class on Kwajalein each year as Rikatak, or guest, students. These selectees then attend the Kwajalein schools until they graduate high school. Prior to this study, no research has been done to examine the post-high school outcomes of the 49 Marshallese graduates of the Kwajalein Jr-Sr High School (KHS). This qualitative case study involved interviewing eleven of the Rikatak graduates of KHS to determine post-high school outcomes. Four themes that emerged from the interview data included A, B, C, and D. The themes influenced recommendations about areas in the guest student program that required changes in order to ensure the students receive a quality education, especially to prepare them for success in American life, employment, and higher education. The results of this study will be used by both the Americans and the Marshallese in order to improve and perpetuate the Rikatak program in the American schools on Kwajalein, which would ultimately benefit the RMI as a developing nation, and enhance the relationship between the Marshall Islands and the United States.

Subject Area

Educational evaluation|School administration

Recommended Citation

Hepler, Douglas S, "Post-High School Outcomes of the Marshallese Graduates of the Kwajalein Jr-Sr High School Kwajalein, Marshall Islands" (2016). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10246640.