Grove Farm presents first ‘sibling scholarship’

PUHI — Athena Abadilla said her sister Natasha is coming back from a year-long mission and returning to her medical studies at Stanford University in the fall.

Abadilla was one of three recipients of the Grove Farm Scholarships which was presented Wednesday at the Grove Farm office in Puhi by Marissa Sandblom, a Grove Farm vice president.

“Natasha was the recipient of one of the first Grove Farm Scholarships when it started in 2010,” Sandblom said. “Today, Athena is a recipient and becomes the first sibling scholarship we’ve presented.”

Abadilla is joined by fellow classmate Melia Okura of Waimea High School, and Meihong Lin of Kauai High School as the 2016 recipients.

The Grove Farm Foundation awards three scholarships to eligible applicants who graduate from Kauai’s public high schools. Each awardee will receive $5,000 each year for each of their four years of college for a total value of up to $20,000. To be eligible for continuation of their scholarships, each recipient must continue volunteering and providing service to their community.

“Grove Farm has been focused on supporting our kamaaina community for the past 150 years,” said Warren Haruki, Grove Farm’s CEO and president, in a release. “We have proudly committed more than $410,000 to our Grove Farm Scholars since the program started in 2010. Our goal is to recognize and honor good citizenship, quality of character, and community service of our talented island youth.”

Sandblom said all of the nine finalists for 2016 were outstanding, and the six finalists each were awarded gift cards from the Kukui Grove Center to assist with their preparation for college.

The nine finalists were narrowed down to the top three students from each of Kauai’s public high schools and each was interviewed by the Grove Farm Scholarship Selection Committee comprised of business and community leaders.

“We look forward to following Abadilla, Meihong and Melia as they prepare to embark on their continuing educational journey and hone their developing career aspirations,” Haruki said.

Athena was selected as the Youth Champion for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and is the daughter of Danilo Abadilla and Susana Valencia-Abadilla of Kekaha.

She plans on attending the Barnard College in New York to pursue a career in education.

Athena served as the Waimea High School senior class president, the Leo Club of Waimea High School president, and is an active member of the Waimea High School JROTC Training Corps Battalion. She serves as cadet Battalion Adjutant.

Okura is also active with the Waimea High School JROTC, currently serving as the battalion command sergeant major.

The daughter of Wendell and Jani Okura of Hanapepe, Okura will attend Brown University with an eye toward a career in computer science and information technology.

Heavily involved in taiko for most of her life, Okura also serves as the Waimea High School’s Student Body vice president, and played with the Menehune girls basketball program.

Lin is looking to a career in accounting after studying at the Emory University in Georgia.

She is the daughter of Yunmin Lin and Yunling Cheng of Lihue and served as a member of the Kauai High School Key Club for four years. She is also an active member of the KHS Honor Society, the Japanese Club, and the Not Even Once Meth Project.

She also holds two part-time jobs at Super No. 1 Chinese BBQ, and the Lihue Public Library, in addition to balancing her busy school schedule.

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