HANAMA‘ULU — Kaua‘i High School graduates Lyle Nemeth and David Ochoco, and Kapa‘a High School graduate Chas Okamoto, were named recipients of the 2011 Grove Farm Scholarships.
The trio celebrated the event at a reception hosted by Grove Farm for the scholarship recipients, their family and members of the Grove Farm Scholarship Selection Committee and Grove Farm representatives.
“Grove Farm has always been a longtime supporter of education and educational initiatives on Kaua‘i for more than a century,” Grove Farm President and CEO Warren Harukiof said in a release. “We will be celebrating our 150th company anniversary in a few years and we are proud to offer a scholarship to our island youth which recognizes and rewards strong community service and volunteerism.”
Haruki said all three young men have demonstrated a tremendous amount of achievement in community initiatives and academics throughout their high school careers and is proud to have them as Grove Farm Scholars.
“Lyle, David and Chas will certainly have exciting careers and we are honored to be able to share in their journey forward,” Haruki said.
After being narrowed down to the top three students from each of Kaua‘i’s public high schools, all nine finalists were interviewed before a selection committee comprised of business and community leaders from all facets of the island.
Each of the remaining six finalists was awarded a $100 Kukui Grove Center gift card in appreciation for their time and effort committed to the scholarship selection process, the release states.
Lyle is the son of Lora and Victor Nemeth of Lihu‘e, heading to California Polytechnic State University in pursuit of a Civil Engineering degree.
He recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, Aloha Council, and was a class valedictorian at the Kaua‘i High School commencement exercises.
Besides being an active member of Kaua‘i High School Key Club and National Honor Society, Lyle was active in tennis, soccer and participated in cross country running for the Red Raiders.
He also volunteered for Young Life Capernaum.
While working toward his Eagle Scout, Lyle amassed a group of volunteers to help with a facelift for the Inline Hockey Association rink at the New Kapa‘a Town Park, giving the rink a badly-needed sprucing up and adding some new bleachers for spectators.
During Tuesday night’s reception, Lyle said a sponsor from Honolulu came forward to pay for supplies involved in the bicycle racks he is working on for the YMCA Puhi facility.
David is the son of Tracey and Ric Ochoco of Lawa‘i, heading to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona in pursuit of earning a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science.
He was also a class valedictorian for Kaua‘i High School and served as the Kaua‘i Island Coordinator and Hawai‘i’s Key Club Division Lieutenant Governor.
David was active in the Kaua‘i High School National Honor Society and spent time volunteering with the Mayor’s Aloha Garden in which all of the produce raised and harvested was donated to The Salvation Army and the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank.
Chas is the son of Nellie and Charles Okamoto of Princeville, heading for the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa as a Regents Scholar and plans to pursue a career in Civil Engineering.
He has served the community by donating his time to assist the Zonta Club of Kaua‘i and the Salvation Army at various events while helping tutor students at the Kapa‘a Elementary School.
Chas, in addition to being a class valedictorian at Kapa‘a High School’s graduation, is the 2011 Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Boys Singles Tennis Champion.
The Grove Farm Foundation awards three scholarships each year. Eligible applicants must graduate from one of Kaua‘i’s three public high schools.
Each Grove Farm Scholar will receive $5,000 per year for each of their four years of college, provided they continue volunteering and serving the community.
Over their four-year college undergraduate period, the scholarship could reach $20,000. The Grove Farm Scholarship is one of the largest scholarships offered by a kama‘aina company within the State of Hawai‘i and is focused on Kaua‘i students, the release states.
Grove Farm, with headquarters in Puhi, owns about 40,000 acres on the island, making it one of Kaua‘i’s largest private landowners.
Visit www.grovefarm.com for more information.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.