LIHUE — Janice Mones wants to pursue a career in hospitality and tourism because she wants to celebrate heritage.
“Because I’m bilingual, my parents told me it was important to share my culture,” she said.
Mones, who speaks Tagalog and Ilocano, also said she also wants to be in the tourism industry because it will allow her to interact and meet with new people.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she said.
Mones is one of 16 Kauai High School seniors who received scholarships from the Kauai High School Foundation.
This year, the KHS Foundation will be awarding over $25,000 to KHS students.
This was the first year the foundation offered scholarships to students who want to attend community colleges or vocational schools, according to a release.
“We’ve been giving out 10 every year, but this year, we had some pretty big donations from alumni,” said Gary Yamamoto, KHS Foundation president.
In order to apply, students need to to submit a one-page essay and teacher recommendations. Applicants are also measured by their GPA scores and community service activities.
This year, there was a total of 53 applicants, Yamamoto said.
The applications, which are handed out in January, are reviewed by a committee of three people—two teachers and a high school counselor from Oahu, he added.
Yamamoto, who graduated from KHS in 1960, said he started the foundation as a way to give back to the school.
“We want to help the students go to college,” he said.
As for Mones, she plans on getting an Associate Degree in tourism, and hopes to go on to a Bachelor’s.
It was important for Mones to get the scholarship because it takes stress away from her parents, she said.
“My parents have been working hard, and have a lot of loans, so I wanted to get the money on my own,” she said. “I want to prove I can get my own resources and do my own thing.”
Through the KHS Foundation, Mones won a $1,500 scholarship to Kauai Community College from the Milt and Debbie Valera Scholarship, through the KHS Foundation, for the tourism program.
“I was shocked and excited when I found out I got the scholarship,” Mones said. “It’s the first one I ever received; it was happy tears.”
Layton Fleege, another scholarship recipient, was just as shocked.
“I was so stunned I couldn’t really speak,” he said.
Fleege was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to the KCC engineering program through the KCC Foundation.
The senior counselor, Kristi Moises, told him in person he got the scholarship about a week before the letter came, he said.
“When my grandma told me I got a letter, I said ‘I don’t get letters,’” he said. “I was stoked to see it in writing.”
Fleege plans on getting his A.A. in liberal arts at KCC before transferring to Oregon State for mechanical engineering.
“I like taking things apart and seeing how they work,” he said. “I’ve done it with my car’s suspension and Airsoft gun.”
The scholarship allows him to to not worry about paying for a college education, Fleege said.
“I won’t have to work as much,” he said. “And when I do work, the money will go to my family.”
Taking stress off of family is a reason why Sheena Carmela Juliano applied for the KHS Foundation scholarship.
“The last thing I want to worry about is my family struggling to put me through school,” she said.
The Milt and Debbie Valera Scholarship awarded Juliano with $2,500.
Juliano, who will be going to the University of Hawaii at Manoa to pursue a Master’s Degree in elementary education, said she’s trying to earn enough scholarship money to equal a full-ride.
“I was excited because the scholarship adds to what I already have,” she said.
In addition to the KHS Foundation scholarship, U.H. Manoa awarded her the Chancellor’s Scholarship, which is $10,000 a year.
Juliano said she wants to be a teacher because she likes helping people understand things.
“As I was growing up, I realized I liked explaining things to people,” she said. “I found a passion in helping people understand.”
She is already thinking of ideas to introduce into a classroom.
“I want to take a class photo, where I dress up like a hen, and make the kids be baby chicks,” she said.
For Kaelee Esposo, the KHS Foundation Scholarship, which awarded her with $2,000 to Chapman University in California, is the second scholarship she has received.
“Because I’m going off-island and to a private university, loans are it for me,” she said. “I could’ve gone to a cheaper college, but I wanted to go the college that had the best program for my major.”
For Esposo, that major is news and documentary.
“I’ve been involved in media since sixth grade; it’s my favorite thing to do,” she said. “I can’t imagine doing something that isn’t media.”
Even though her acceptance to Chapman University means a move to California, Esposo said she isn’t nervous.
“I’m really excited to have bigger opportunities and a change of environment,” she said.
The scholarship certificates will be given out on May 14 during the senior luau.
The winners of the 2016 Kauai High School Foundation scholarships are
Four-year scholarship recipients include:
• Sheena Carmela Juliano: $2,500, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Education. The Milt ‘60 and Debbie Valera Scholarship.
• Brittney Yoshida: $2,500, Cornell University, Hospitality. The Milt ‘60 and Debbie Valera Scholarship.
• Meihong Lin: $2,500, Bentley University, Accounting. The Fred ‘57 and June Morinaka Scholarship
• Kellie Joto: $2,000, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Travel Industry Management. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Kaelee Esposo: $2,000, Chapman University, News and Documentary. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Seema Marahatta: $2,000, University of California, Los Angeles, Computer Science. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Mitchell Evans: $1,000, Washington College, Computer Science. The Zenzaku’ 27 Ande Toshiko ‘34 Tokita Trust and Adele Tokita Alfson ‘69 and Mary Tokita Jones‘62 Trustees Scholarship.
Two-year community colleges or vocational school scholarship recipients include:
• Janice Mones: $1,500, Kauai Community College, Tourism. The Milt ‘60 and Debbie Valera Scholarship.
• Dillon Palalay-Valenzuela: $1,500, Kauai Community College, Art. The Milt ‘60 and Debbie Valera Scholarship.
• Alyssa Wilson: $1,000, Kauai Community College, Nursing. The Karene Kunimura ‘66 Scholarship.
• Layton Fleege: $1,000, Kauai Community College, Engineering. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Roselyn Mae Cadiente: $1,000, Kauai Community College, Business. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Dylan Wakano: $1,000, Kauai Community College, Architecture. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Col Dacuyan: $1,000, Kauai Community College, Nursing. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.
• Janice Purisima-Cabutaje: $1,000. Kapiolani Community College, Nursing. The Kauai High School Foundation Scholarship.