Taste of Hawai‘i much more than good food

WAIPOULI n Five graduating high school seniors and two community programs were beneficiaries of funds generated by the 2005 “Taste of Hawai‘i” event hosted by the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a.

The recipients were awarded $6,000 in scholarships and grants from the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a Foundation.

This year will be Kauai’s 18th Annual Taste of Hawai‘i culinary festival scheduled for June 4. The popular festival, organized each year as a fund-raiser by the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, features an afternoon of live entertainment and food booths hosted by top restaurants from across the state. The festival takes place amidst the botanical gardens and lagoons of Smith’s Tropical Paradise on the Wailua River.

Scholarship winners from funds raised at last year’s event will use them in varying ways. Members of the Kapa‘a Middle School band face a problem due to budget cutbacks for their upcoming school year. Michelle Steinohrt, the Kapa‘a Middle School Band Director, accepted a check for $1,000 which she said will go to help replace some “badly needed instruments.”

“Thank you so much,” Steinohrt told the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a members and guests at their weekly meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott at Waipouli Beach. “Now, I’d like you folks to hear our students perform.”

D.J. Colbert, one of the Rotarians in charge of Community Service Contributions, said these funds are generated through the community support of their annual “Taste of Hawai‘i” event.

Cynthia Weiss of Hale Opio also received a check in the amount of $1,000 for their programs.

Jacklaine Villanueva, Lauren Baptiste, Grayson Boyer, Amniesty Ragsac, and Anthony Tran were honored with $4,000 in scholarships to help in their post-high school educational endeavors.

These funds, too, were generated by proceeds from the “Taste of Hawai‘i.”

Additionally, former Kaua‘i High School Music Director Larry McIntosh was on hand to continue with the honors as he joined the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a in awarding an additional $3,000 in scholarships to three graduating high school students from the Larry L. McIntosh Scholarship Fund.

McIntosh, who became involved with the “Taste of Hawai‘i” by having the college jazz ensemble play for the event, eventually expanded the program to bring in the award-winning Kaua‘i High School Jazz Raiders to perform at the event.

It was during one of these performances that he approached Dan Spriggs, one of the performers for the college ensemble, about forming a musical scholarship program.

Spriggs, a member of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a, pursued the matter, and a year before McIntosh announced his retirement after 40 years at the helm of the Kaua‘i High School music program, the first music scholarship was presented.

At McIntosh’s retirement, a celebratory gathering touting the music master’s accomplishments doubled as a fund-raiser for the Larry L. McIntosh Scholarship, and the three students honored Wednesday are recipients of this effort.

The honored students and their parents were guests of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a at the luncheon meeting.

Spriggs, on a recess from his school duties, said that proceeds from the “Taste of Hawai‘i” was able to provide close to $15,000 in scholarships.

One of the program recipients of these scholarships was the culinary arts program at the Kaua‘i Community College where students were awarded scholarships during the Annual American Culinary Federation Brunch in February.

Spriggs told the club members that the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a is one of only two Rotary clubs in the state that provide scholarships to community colleges.

Rotarian Richard Anglemyer, in charge of “Taste of Hawai‘i” ticket sales, said tickets for the event are still available.

Additionally, Rotary Club of Kapa‘a members will be establishing tables at both the Safeway and Cost U Less stores where people can still purchase tickets.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) and dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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