KAPAA — Placido Valenciano, physical therapist at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, was pleased to hear that Kira Nobriga, a graduate of Waimea High School, is aspiring to become a physical therapist.
“I have four years before being eligible for retirement,” Valenciano said. “That’s enough time for her to get a degree and maybe take over.”
George Mukai, president of the Mahelona Hospital Auxiliary, encourages the scholarship recipients to come back and work on Kauai once their medical training is done.
The Mahelona Hospital Auxiliary presented $500 scholarships to public high school graduates aspiring to a career in the medical field.
Destiny Ena Navalta from Kapaa High School, and Aubrey Kay, of Kauai High School, both hope to become nurses.
“Ever since I was little, I looked up to nurses,” Navalta said. “I was always ill, and the nurses took care of me.”
She will be attending Kauai Community College in the fall.
“When I was younger, I used to help care for my grandma,” Nobriga said. “That really got me interested in becoming a physical therapist. I want to come back to Kauai to help others.”
Nobriga will be opening her journey at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the fall.
“My son Ryan just got his bachelor of science in exercise science from Pacific University,” said Valenciano. “Exercise science opens the gate to either physical therapy, or occupational therapy. He also minored in Japanese and will be going to Hyogo, Japan for the next two years under the Japanese exchange tachers program to teach English.”
Kay is heading to the Carroll College in Helena, Montana.
“My mother is an emergency medical technician,” the Kauai High School graduate said. “At first, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but when I went to work, I discovered I wanted to help people.”
The Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital Auxiliary is active in raising funds for patient equipment, services, and other hospital needs. The Auxiliary operates the thrift shop in the Mahelona Hospital.