Mahelona Hospital Auxiliary helps aspiring medical field students

An aspiring pediatrician, occupational therapist and physical therapist are being helped along their way by the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

One graduating senior from Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i and Waimea high schools were presented scholarships by Betty Matsumura and Myra Ornellas, the Mahelona Hospital administrator, for their high school achievements and volunteerism.

Michelle Jae Cruz, the daughter of Juliet and Michael Cruz, will be graduating from Kapa‘a High School and plans on attending the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a goal of a degree in biology in preparation for medical school and a career as a pediatrician.

Cruz, one of the Kapa‘a valedictorians, is the president of the school’s National Honor Society, a member of Health Occupations Students of America, and the Interact Club where she was involved in volunteer work in the community including volunteer tours with Kaua‘i United Way and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Kaua‘i.

An occupational therapist is the goal for Kimberly Aguilar who will be graduating from Waimea High School and heading to Hardin-Simmons University.

The daughter of Priscilla and Victor Aguilar, she is a battalion executive officer in the Waimea Junior ROTC, is a member of the Spanish National Honor Society and garnered Most Valuable Participant honors on the Waimea Air Riflery and Paddling teams.

Aguilar has taken a missionary trip to Thailand with the Kalaheo Missionary Church and served as a counselor at the church’s spring camp.

She also is the recipient of HMSA’s Kaimana Scholarship and the Hawai‘i Lodging and Tourism Association Citizenship Award.

Ryan Valenciano, graduating from Kaua‘i High School, plans on following his father’s footsteps and pursing a career in physical therapy, specializing in sports physical therapy.

The son of Placido and Michelle Valenciano, he will be heading to Pacific University in the fall.

He is designated one of the Kaua‘i valedictorians and is the president of the school’s Japanese Club, vice president for the school’s Key Club and a member of the National Honor Society.

Valenciano served as captain of the Red Raider Swim Team as well as captain of the Mokihana Aquatics swim club.

He has volunteered with the Mokihana Aquatics Learn to Swim program, Summer Swim League and at numerous community events with the Key Club.

Each of the students received $500 scholarships and were hosted to lunch by the Mahelona Hospital Auxiliary.

“The Mahelona Hospital Auxiliary has been presenting awards to deserving high school seniors for 20 years,” Matsumura said. “We are extremely pleased to support and encourage students going into the medical field and are happy to be able to present awards to students from all three of Kaua‘i’s public high schools.”

Funds for the Mahelona Hospital scholarships are derived primarily through the Mahelona Hospital Thrift Shop. It is located in the hospital and is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., Mondays through Fridays, and is staffed by auxiliary members.

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


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