WAFF honors 13 Menehune

WAIMEA — The annual Waimea High School Alumni and Friends lu‘au, and its annual golf tournament have been cancelled for 2020 because of health and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the 13 recipients for scholarships were announced in the face of alternative graduation plans.

“While each of these 13 students possesses a unique set of skills and talents, they have all worked very hard and endeavored to contribute to their school and community in various ways,” said Russ Hasegawa of the WAFF. “Most of the scholarships awarded are due to the generosity of donors, and the Waimea Alumni and Friends Foundation would like to extend our thank you and gratitude to all of the donors throughout the years in supporting the WAFF scholarship program.”

Fred Ryl Adella, Cori Lynn Burton, Kalee Vea Gomes, Kaitlyn Rose Garcia, Naomi Naka‘ahiki, Ky Niccore, Wade Pradit Pimsaguan, Vanessa Mahealani Rowland, Tevin Shigematsu, Tehani Makale‘a Togioka, Leslie Deris Uri, Kaela Tsuchiya, and Ethan Yamamoto are this year’s scholarship recipients.

Fred, the son of Wilfredo and Sheryl Adella Jr., earns the Kaoru &Kikumi (Nakaue) Fujita Endowed Scholarship and plans on attending the University of Portland in Oregon, or the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a major in biology toward pursuing a career in medicine.

Arriving in Hawai‘i from the Philippines at age 9 years old, Fred overcame the challenges of adjustment, representing the Kaua‘i District for three consecutive years at the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the state level. He further went on to earn a letter on the Waimea Varsity Tennis Team, became the JROTC Company Commander, and a member of the JROTC Drill team, and the National Honor Society.

Cori is the daughter of Joshua and Erika Manuel Burton and earned the Misae Tokushige Takanishi Memorial Scholarship, and the Guillermo and Ignacia Estacio Scholarship. Inspired by her late “Grandma Judy,” Cori will attend the Kaua‘i Community College to pursue a career in Early Childhood Education.

During her high school career, her academic strengths were complemented by her leadership, teamwork, and positive attitude that led to her lettering in basketball where she was a member of the WHS Girls Basketball KIF Championship Team in 2019 and 2020. She also lettered in volleyball.

Kalee, the daughter of Alica Vea — an alumnus of the Class of 1994 — was awarded the Yuso and Lillian Ishida Health Professions Scholarship that she plans to use when she attends the Kaua‘i Community College in pursuit of a career in nursing and Emergency Medical Technician.

Kalee demonstrates perseverance, commitment, and positive work ethic to all academics and extra curricular activities that include teaching with her Health Academy peers, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Automated External Defibrillator, and the Heimlich Maneuver to elementary school students in Westside schools.

Kaitlyn Rose is the daughter of Bartolome and Cindy Garcia Jr. of Hanapepe and was awarded the Misae Tokushige Takanishi Memorial Scholarship, and the Takeshi Fujita Society Elementary Education Scholarship that she intends to use when she attends Kaua‘i Community College to pursue a degree in Elementary Education.

She worked as a junior leader and recreational aide for the county’s Summer Fun Enrichment program, and also as an EDGE ministry leader at the Holy Cross Church for sixth and seventh grade students. While working with third grade students at the Ele‘ele Elementary School A+ program, she assumed leadership roles as the Junior Class Secretary, and Homecoming Chairperson while maintaining academic excellence as a member of the National Honor Society.

Naomi is the daughter of Wayne — alumnus of the Class of 1974 — and Karen Batis of Kekaha and plans on using her WAFF scholarship when attending the Kaua‘i Community College to study Kinesiology.

Throughout her high school career, Naomi has demonstrated effective time management, determination, and team leadership that led to a letter in volleyball where she led the Menehune wahine to a second place finish in the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division 2 state volleyball championship this school year.

Ky is the son of Ward and Jen Niccore of Kalaheo, and was awarded the WAFF scholarship that he will use when he attends Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California with a major in engineering or mathematics.

Ky demonstrated his academic excellence by being on the Principal’s List for all four years at Waimea. He not only focuses on academics and athletics, but is a practitioner of kindness and living life to its fullest.

Wade, the son of Buren and Jennifer Pimsaguan, earned the George and Doris Crowell Memorial Scholarship that will help him when he attends the Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon for a major in Exercise Science/Dietetics.

He demonstrates his effective time management and organizational skills while having a positive impact on his peers by being an outstanding basketball player and team captain for the Menehune basketball team, participating in track and field, and organizing pet adoption events while holding a job at Natural Pet Hawai‘i.

Vanessa, the daughter of Heather Rowland of Hanapepe, is a recipient of the WAFF scholarship that she will use while attending the Kaua‘i Community College majoring in Business Management before pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters of Business Administration.

Participating in the JROTC program, volleyball, and the Student Council, Vanessa was the Senior Class Treasurer, pursuing her academic standards by enrolling in Honors, Advanced Placement, and college classes.

Tevin, the son of Troy and Maude Nalani Shigematsu — both Waimea alumni — earned the Daniel Suga Memorial Scholarship that will help him when he attends the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a major in education towards a career as a secondary high school counselor or teacher.

Watching his mother lose her battle to cancer was difficult for Tevin, spending his Waimea High School career in deep reflection and personal growth. His priority was making memories and spending time with her, but still able to letter and captain the football and basketball teams. He was also a member of the air riflery team.

Tehani, the daughter of Mari Lorenzo — alumnus of the Cllass of 2004 — earned the Eveline Ruth Pascua-Corpuz Scholarship that will help her when she attends Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon to pursue a major in nursing with a goal of a career as a Nurse Anesthetist or NICU Nurse.

Her passion for kids has been part of the motivation to her participation in teaching basic life support skills like CPR, AED, and the Heimlich Maneuver to fifth grade students in the public schools.

She balances her academics through participation in sports where she was a member of the volleyball team that took the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation championship for the past three consecutive years.

Leslie, the daughter of Rogelio and Cheery Uri, also earned the Eveline Ruth Pascua-Corpuz Scholarship that will help in her plans to attend Washington State University with a major in nursing with her ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

Her passion for helping people is evident in the community activities she has volunteered for, including being a part of Big Brothers, Big Sisters Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Pre-Health Career Corps., and Health Occupations Students of America, the Kaua‘i Care Home, the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital elderly outings, as well as been an integral part of the activities in the Health Academy.

Kaela is the daughter of David and Lorna Tsuchiya of Kekaha and earned a WAFF scholarship that will serve her on her path of attending the Kaua‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo with a major in Biology/Health Care.

The president of the National Honor Society, and the vice president of the Student Council, Kaela balances her academic load by volunteering with Big Brothers, Big Sisters Hawai‘i, and teaching elementary school students basic first aid and CPR. She has also worked in the public library, earning her respect and admiration from the school’s teachers and students.

Ethan, the son of Vance — Alumnus of the Class of 1981 — and Anne Yamamoto, earned the Kiyoto Fujita —alumnus of Class of 1964 — Scholarship for a student pursuing engineering or sciences.

He plans on pursuing his degree in computers and/or biomedical engineering at the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a goal of working on software development and artificial intelligence in the medical field.

He balanced his academics by serving as a two-year captain on the Menehune boys soccer team. He spent a summer at General Dynamics learning how collaboration and problem-solving are integral to teamwork in the field of study he is pursuing, and learned more skills out of school during a job in the culinary field and while serving as a referee for the Hawai‘i Youth Soccer Association.

“Mahalo to their parents, family, teachers, coaches, friends, and the community who served as mentors and helped contribute to these students’ successes,” Hasegawa said.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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