Rotarians host final interview for 2007 scholars

PUHI — Like clockwork, one showed up every 15 minutes Saturday.

“This one is in Honolulu, so we’re doing the interview by phone,” said Dan Momohara, representing the Rotary Club of West Kaua‘i.

He was referring to a student interview, one of 24 final interviews being conducted at the Grove Farm Conference Room.

Establishing a conference call, Momohara, armed with a resume of the student who was on O‘ahu, was joined by Rotarians from other Kaua‘i clubs in conducting the interview that will determine the 12 Kaua‘i finalists for the Hawai‘i Rotary Youth Foundation Scholarship Program.

“These students are extraordinary,” said Rotarian George Corrigan, representing the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay. “These are the 24 top students on Kaua‘i, and listening to them just makes you feel proud of what they’ve accomplished.”

Momohara and Corrigan were joined by other Rotarians, Dr. Robert Long of the Rotary Club of Kaua‘i, Tony Cook of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a and Greggory Ransone of the Rotary Club of Poipu Beach in hosting the students for the day-long interview process.

Kaua‘i’s final interviews are part of a state-wide program being conducted by Rotary clubs throughout the state.

Momohara, the Trustee representing the Kaua‘i District, said the 24 students at the interview will be competing for 12 openings permitted for the Kaua‘i District.

“They will be competing statewide with students from O‘ahu, Maui and the Big Island,” Momohara said.

Momohara said an excellent example of this program is Marissa Sandblom, a Grove Farm Co. vice president who was a recipient of this scholarship several years ago.

The HRYF was founded by Maurice J. Sullivan who had a desire to assist Hawai‘i’s high school graduates realize their potential by attending a college of their choice. He felt that HRYF could be the vehicle to teach our young people about the advantages of the free enterprise system.

The first scholarship was granted in 1977, and through Apr. 5, 2006, the Rotary Clubs have awarded 1,125 scholarships totalling $3,479,263.

This year, 96 scholars received a total of $302,500 with awards ranging from $1,000 to $3,500 for each student depending on whether they select Mainland universities, or one in Hawai‘i.

These scholarships are non-transferable, one-time grants that need not be repaid.

Additionally, a Maurice J. Sullivan Scholar Award of $5,000 in memory of the program’s founder is presented to one outstanding student annually.

Criteria for selection is based on scholastic and academic achievements, personal involvement on campus, community activities, employment experience and financial need.

HRYF programs are financed by contributions from Rotarians and other community-minded persons and foundations.

The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation favored HRYF with an endowment grant of $1,000,000 with which to expand the scholarship program.

Contributions received with no designation of funds are placed in the endowment fund. However, one can also designate funds to community college/vocational schools, this year’s scholars, or office operations. All contributions are tax deductible.

“This is an excellent way to support the young leadership on our island as they will surely return and ‘give back’ to the community,” Momohara said.

HRYF maintains an office in the Foodland Building in Kaimuki, hosting office hours from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, call 735-1073.

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

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