Scholarship made the difference for this Waimea graduate

LIHU’E — Leaders of the Hawai’i Community Foundation are now seeking recipients for scholarships from the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund.

“I couldn’t have done it without the scholarship,” said Kyle Yokoyama, a student at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who is currently home enjoying a winter break.

“The tuition is $37,000, and without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have enough money to cover the rent and electricity,” Yokoyama explained.

A total of $10,000 in scholarship grants are available to West Kaua’i residents through the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund of the Hawai’i Community Foundation.

To qualify, candidates must be residents of West Kaua’i, display a proven record of good academic merit and character, and either attend, or plan to attend, a post-high school academic institution.

Graduating highschool seniors, and adults returning to school as a result of career-changing needs, or those involved in technical and vocational endeavors, are encouraged to apply.

Yokoyama, a member of Waimea High School’s Class of 2003, said he didn’t apply when he was a senior in high school. Rather, he learned about the program through his older brother Shaun Yokoyama, and when he saw the application packet from members of Hui O Hawai’i at Creighton, he picked it up and applied.

“It was hard,” he said. “The application period falls between midterms and finals, and I was mixing studying for exams and trying to fill out the forms to make the deadline. But, it was worth it because I won one of the grants,” Kyle Yokoyama said.

Yokoyama said he is currently majoring in pharmacy, and explained that his course of study will extend beyond the normal four-year college career.

“But, I don’t want to go to school that long, so I’m trying to finish it sooner,” he laughed.

Deborah Rice, a foundation officer for charitable services for the Hawai’i Community Foundation on Kaua’i, encouraged students to apply online at, or to call the HCF office in Lihu’e at 245-4585 for more information.

Rice said the HCF is one of the few organizations where people can apply online, but for those who have no access to computers, paper applications are available by request.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 1. People mailing in applications must have their forms postmarked by Wednesday, March 1.

Created by Kaua’i residents Larry and Tricia Egger in 2002, the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund provides those living on the Westside of Kaua’i with help in pursuing their educational endeavors, Rice explained.

Administrators of the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund accept gifts from all community members, and the Eggers invite other residents to help support community people by contributing to the scholarship fund, they said.

Nani Larsen, retiring Kaua’i foundation officer for the HCF, said the scholarship donors demonstrate their support for the youth of Kaua’i, and love to hear about where they’ve been, what they’ve experienced, and how their programs impacted their personal experience in the pursuit of higher education.

Since its inception, Rice noted that 16 Kaua’i students have been beneficiaries of the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund.

Having these funds available for the students allows them to “savor their adventures (while in college, or an other post-high-school institution). The students need to savor the time they’re in school,” Rice said.

Larsen added that these programs allow students to expand their minds and explore and experience institutions beyond Kaua’i.

These experiences will highlight the values that they have been taught by their parents, grandparents and friends, Larsen said.

While it is important that some of the students return home with their new-found knowledge, Larsen said that, for those who are not able to return, they will help spread the homegrown values that have made Hawai’i students welcomed because of their ability to adapt.

Members of the advisory board of the West Kaua’i Scholarship Fund include: Takeshi Fujita, a retired Waimea High School science teacher and active community volunteer; Alana Fujikami, Waimea High School counselor; and Leila Kuboyama, Waimea High School senior-class counselor.

Rice said that, for students living outside of West Kaua’i, HCF leaders also have a variety of post-high-school scholarship programs available.

HCF’s scholarship program is made up of over 100 different scholarship funds established by individuals, and leaders of businesses or organizations, to assist Hawai’i residents in obtaining college educations.

Some of the funds are part of the HCF, and some represent those from private foundations whose advisors have asked HCF officials to administer their scholarships, Rice said.

There are geographic scholarships available to Kaua’i students living on the North Shore, Eastside and Westside, respectively, as well as many other scholarships available exclusively to Kaua’i residents, and many others.

These can be found in their “Scholarship Seeker’s Guide,” which is available at the HCF Lihu’e office, or by visiting

The scholarship application period has a January-to-March window, with the majority of the scholarships sharing a Wednesday, March 1 postmark deadline.

Established in 1916, the HCF is a statewide, charitable-services and grant-making institution endowed with contributions from many donors.

HCF officers serve as a resource on philanthropy, and community issues and trends.

HCF’s mission is to help people make a difference by inspiring the spirit of giving, and by investing in people and solutions to benefit every island community.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.