Waimea alumni award scholarships

Waimea Alumni & Friends Foundation presented scholarships to nine outstanding members of Waimea High School Class of 2017. These students demonstrated academic excellence, perseverance in athletics, leadership in class and student government offices and committees and unselfish hours in school and community service.

  • Robyn Acob daughter of Roel and Cris Acob, received the Guillermo and Ignacia Estacio Scholarship. Her desire to help people has encouraged her to select Creighton University with the goal to become a nurse practitioner. She excels in academics, athletics and school and community service and is one of the valedictorians. In addition to a rigorous academic schedule, she has been active in leadership positions as class vice president and class and student body Kauai District Student Council representative.

She has also participated in varsity sports and numerous service club and community organizations. She has donated hundreds of hours in volunteer activities as part of the Waimea High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kauai. She has been a caring and positive mentor of her “Little Brother,” and works with additional children when needed.

  • A four-year veteran of Waimea High School’s MTV production, Vincent Altomare, son of John (class of ‘91) and Narlyn Altomare, will be attending Northern Arizona University in the fall, studying filmmaking, hoping to pursue a career in filmmaking, hopefully back on Kauai.

In addition to his involvement in media production, he is an executive officer with the JROTC, and has also been involved in Kauai Interscholastic Federation soccer, riflery, cross-country and tennis, as well as video rocketry and music. As part of TRYBE band, he has been a Brown Bags to Stardom and Tri-High Talent Show winner, and is a member of the Starlighters jazz band. As a member of the Kauai All Island Band, he played at the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C.

  • Recipient of numerous academic, athletic and leadership awards, BreeAnn Cayaban, daughter of Fred (Class of ‘84) and Georgeatte Galicinao-Cayaban (Class of ‘86) will be attending Seattle University to study nursing, with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. She is a valedictorian. Despite a rigorous academic schedule, she managed to participate in KIF cross-country, soccer, basketball and track, has served in numerous leadership positions and given many hours in community service. She was class president for three years, and is this year’s student body president.

She has represented her school at conferences at the district, state and national levels, including the Hawaii State Student Conference, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative conference in Washington, D.C., and the National Rural Electrical Cooperative Association Youth Leadership Council and the National Health Occupations Students of America convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Elijah Nishihira, son of Jerry and Lenie Nishihira, received the Kyoto Fujita Scholarship, and will be attending the University of Portland, studying biomedical engineering. A multi-sport athlete, he participated in KIF cross country, baseball, soccer and tennis. He also enjoys service to school and community, participating in numerous sports-related camps both as a participant and an instructor.

As part of his church’s outreach program, a program of a week-long camp for the children on the south and Westside of the island, he was one of the head coaches this past summer. He led a team of junior coaches for the week. He went to Thailand last summer to teach children and adults about sports. He worked tirelessly in the extreme heat and monsoon rains to serve the Thai children. He even learned some of the language to better communicate with the children.

  • The Takeshi Fujita Society Scholarship was presented to Ashley Marie Pascual, daughter of Rodolfo and Imelda Pascual. Inspired by the many teachers and faculty members who have made a positive impact on her life, she will be attending Washington State University to major in education, with the goal of becoming a guidance counselor in order to, in turn, make an impact on the lives of others.

Respectful, committed, motivated and hard working, she has challenged herself by taking college courses at Kauai Community College, and has still been extremely involved in her school and community. She is a member of three varsity sports teams: riflery, tennis and cross-country. She was a member of numerous school clubs and student body committees, usually serving in positions of leadership. This year, she was elected as student body secretary. She has also been with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for the past three years.

  • A scholar and leader, Sharay Rapozo, daughter of Shasta (Class of ‘97) and Roy Rapozo (Class of ‘91) of Makaweli, plans to attend the University of Washington at Seattle with plans to study pre-social science with the goal of becoming an attorney. She has been class secretary for four years and a member of the JROTC program, serving as battalion adjutant this year.

She has also been active in numerous service clubs, often in positions of leadership. She was also chosen to participate in the health-related co-curricular activities, Science Olympiad, Science Bowl and HOTS/HOT Club. She was a mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Kauai at Kekaha School this year, and recruited her peers to volunteer their time as well.

  • The Daniel Suga Memorial Scholarship is being presented to Kiara Ruiz, daughter of Marleen (Class of ’93) and Keith Ruiz (Class of ’91) of Kekaha. She will be attending either the University of Hawaii at Hilo or the University of Nevada at Las Vegas to pursue a degree in business administration. She hopes to one day own her own business.

A dedicated student-lea-der, she is involved in many clubs and activities on campus and with her church. Off campus, she is very much involved in the High School Rodeo Association and the Kauai All Girl Rodeo Association, where she has won several events and placed high enough to qualify for national standings. She is also active with 4-H and is a hula dancer for Halau Hula O Hali‘eleo.

  • Hoping to contribute to the war on cancer through research of the genetic code, Bailee M. Taeza, daughter of Matt and Lani Taeza (Class of ’85), will be attending Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, to study bioinformatics with an emphasis in premed with the goal to become a medical doctor specializing in internal medicine.

A well-rounded individual, she was an outstanding student, a three-sport KIF athlete and tireless student leader. During her tenure at Waimea High School, she has challenged herself by enrolling in numerous gifted and talented and AP courses. She also enrolled in two dual-credit math courses at KCC.

She participated in volleyball, golf and riflery, has served as class president for three years, district council representative, and on school committees. In addition to all of this, she has been serving her community by volunteering as a youth leader at her church, assisting with feeding the homeless at Holy Cross Church and The Salvation Army for many years, and volunteering in the radiology department at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital for four years. Her ability to prioritize and her level of maturity makes her an outstanding student.

  • Leeana Tamashiro, daughter of Lynne (Class of ’85) and Leslie Tamashiro, receives the Yuso and Lillian Ishida Scholarship and will be attending Oregon Institute of Technology in the fall with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse. Inspired by the nurses who have provided care and comfort to family members, she believes that nursing is the career that will help her fulfill her dream of assisting others. Her work ethic has been demonstrated on both the athletic field and in the classroom.

A four-year veteran of the volleyball team, she was voted most valuable player by her coaches for her leadership and team spirit. The list of service activities she has participated in demonstrates her interest in service to others. She is a member of the Interact Club, a service-learning organization, has been a team captain for a Relay for Life team, a member of Project Grad, and volunteered at The Salvation Army and at the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital with activities for the residents.

This year’s scholarships are funded by the third annual WAFF Golf Tournament and generous donations from members and friends.


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