KALAHEO — Braelyn Cayaban and Jeran Paleka, recipients of $500 scholarships from the Kaua‘i Youth Running Program, were presented their checks Monday at Kaua‘i Coffee.
Cayaban, a senior from Waimea High, and Paleka, a senior from Kapa‘a High, were given their awards for their commitment to academics and their contribution to the sport of running.
Kaua‘i Marathon has disbursed over $7,000 to Kaua‘i students to help them with their college fees, had a record amount of applications for the scholarship, according to Robin Jumper, director of marketing for The Kaua‘i Marathon.
Paleka and Cayaban both have post-academic aspirations.
Cayaban plans on majoring in pre-medicine and chemistry. “My goal is to become a pediatrician to work in a community and provide care to children,” Cayaban said. “I enjoy working with children and learning about the human body.”
Cayaban’s drive came from volunteering. “I gained a passion for working with kids ever since volunteering at the Kaua‘i Summer Fun program during the summer season,” Cayaban said. “I want to share with others the importance of the keiki, our mental and physical wellbeing and, most of all, taking care of our ‘ohana.”
Paleka has hopes of continuing an athletic career as well.
“I would like to be one of the first in my family to graduate college while participating in a collegiate-level sport,” Paleka said in a written statement to The Garden Island. “(After college) I would preferably like to come back at teaching at Kapa’a Elementary because that was the school that I went to as a child.”
Paleka’s passion for being an educator came from spending time with youth.
“I want to be able to help the rising generation be successful in their lives,” Paleka said. “With the increase of turmoil and problems in today’s world, I want to have the opportunity to be a bright influence and strong supporter and educator for future generations.”
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.