Three Waimea High School seniors — Lauryn Fleming, Kayla Ishida and Melia Takakusagi — were named the 2015 Grove Farm Scholars Friday during the Waimea High School senior luau.
“These young ladies are all part of the JROTC program,” said Maj. Victor Aguilar, leader of the JROTC program at Waimea. “They are the top three in the program and are all leaders.”
Marissa Sandblom, a Grove Farm Company vice president, said this is the first time since the program was started that all three Grove Farm Scholarships come from the same school.
Grove Farm Foundation awards three scholarship to eligible applicants who graduate from Kauai’s 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 their community. This makes each scholarship valued at up to $20,000.
“Since the inception of our scholarship program, we have had the privilege of honoring extremely talented students from across the island,” said Warren Haruki, president and CEO of Grove Farm. “As our 2015 Grove Farm Scholars, Lauryn, Kayla and Melia have amazing clarity regarding their goals and ambitions. They are outstanding role models for our island’s future student leaders.”
Haruki said all nine of the Grove Farm finalists, three from each public high school, demonstrated tremendous poise in sharing their many achievements with the selection committee. All six finalists were awarded Kukui Grove Center gift certificates to assist in their college preparation.
Lauryn, the daughter of Alison and Kurt Toma of Waimea, and Michael Fleming of Missouri, serves as cadet Command Sergeant Major with the Waimea JROTC battalion. She plans on attending the University of Missouri with hopes of a career in medicine. She was elected as class president during her freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years at Waimea.
Kayla is the Waimea JROTC Battalion Commander, the highest ranking cadet on campus. The daughter of Helga and Eric Ishida of Kalaheo, Kayla will attend the United States Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut to pursue a degree in marine and environmental sciences. She is a four-time winner of the school’s science and engineering fair, and a finalist at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair three times.
Melia is the daughter of Dayle and Thomas Takakusagi of Eleele and plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo to pursue a career in pediatric medicine. Heavily involved in hula, Melia performed at the 50th Merrie Monarch Hula Festival with Ka Lei Mokihana O Leinaala under the direction of Kumu Leinaala Pavao-Jardin.