Honoring education

LIHUE — An aspiring pharmacist and forester were each recipients of scholarships presented by Judge Randal Valenciano, chief judge of the 5th Circuit Court.

The scholarships for $250 each were given to Quiana Duarte, aspiring to become a pharmacist, and Theron Shigematsu, looking to pursue a career in forestry.

The scholarships were in memory of Valenciano’s parents, Placido Sr. and Marie Valenciano, who recently passed away. Valenciano is the youngest of six children.

“Both of them immigrated to Kauai from the Philippines at a young age,” Valenciano said. “They both grew up in Kaumakani. Maria is a graduate of Waimea High School. Placido Sr. was not able to graduate because he left elementary school to work at the Olokele Sugar Plantation to support himself and his family.”

Both Placido and Maria believed that through hard work, faith and education, anyone can succeed.

The scholarships go to students pursuing degrees or education in a technical or medical field, excluding culinary.

“I want to become a pharmacist because I enjoy helping others,” said Duarte. “Pursuing this career will give me the opportunity to help those in the community improve their health and learn about healthier lifestyles and medications.”

Duarte said her long-term goals include opening a pharmacy in her community for those who are unable to drive to pharmacies in other towns. She would also like to establish a pharmacy delivery service to assist homebound patients and the elderly.

A family volunteer effort was pivotal for Shigematsu’s career path.

“We had the opportunity to volunteer with the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Forestry and Wildlife program,” the captain of the Waimea High School baseball team said. “We volunteered to feed 500 pheasants, raising them from a day-old and releasing them into the wild following three weeks of care. We were also responsible for checking on the water source for the birds. This was an awesome experience which made me realize I wanted to pursue a career in this field.”

Shigematsu said he enrolled in the Natural Resources pathway at Waimea as a freshman to learn more about the environment.

“Those classes helped broaden my awareness and knowledge about the environment around me which we take for granted,” Shigematsu said. “With a college education, I plan to pursue a career with the forestry department and give back to a community that has given me much.”

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