Kea`au Grad Chow Named Distinguished Scholar at HMSA Kaimana Awards

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HONOLULU – Kea`au High School graduate Christina Chow was named one of five distinguished scholars by HMSA at their annual Kaimana Awards luncheon, held Saturday at Waikiki’s Hawai`i Convention Center.

Chow, along with classmate Talon Ota and Kamehameha-Hawai`i graduate Namele Naipo-Arsiga, were officially honored as scholarship recipients from the BIIF. Meanwhile, Kea`au and Hualalai Academy were given school awards in their respective divisions.

The annual scholarship event honors schools and athletes for their achievements based on their total body of work on the field, in the classroom, and around the community. Overall, thirty high schools received awards from the health insurance company, while 21 student-athletes received scholarship money. Five of those students received HMSA’s distinguished student scholarship while another will take home the company’s highest award, the Robert P. Hiam Scholarship.

Every scholarship is worth at least $3,000. The five individuals who were given distinguished scholarships, including Chow, received scholarships worth $5,000.

Pictured l-r: Jaryn Villegas, Lucas Gushikuma, Christina Chow, Lauren Uhr, Katy Kingery, Michael Kikukawa. Photo by Josh Pacheco.

Pictured l-r: Jaryn Villegas, Lucas Gushikuma, Christina Chow, Lauren Uhr, Katy Kingery, Michael Kikukawa. Photo by Josh Pacheco.

The Hiam scholarship, awarded in honor of the recently retired HMSA president, is worth $10,500. Kauai High School’s Lucas Gushikuma was announced as the first ever recipient of the scholarship.

Chow is the second person in her family to receive a Kaimana scholarship, following older brother Jonathan, who received a scholarship two years ago. The younger Chow is recognized for her leadership as a team captain in cross country. She also played tennis. In the classroom, she is a member of the National Honor Society and is the valedictorian of her class. In the community, she serves meals bi-monthly to the less fortunate as part of the Salvation Army’s feeding program, something that she has done for the past 13 years. She said that her involvement in that program is something that has been especially rewarding for her.


“It’s a service my that church (Holy Apostles) does and I’ve been doing for years, “explained Chow. “With my parents, we started off feeding them and did that for years, and then I started to cook. ”

Chow will study elementary education at Weber State University but hopes to return to Kea`au to teach at her alma mater. One of the qualities that improved on during her athletic career, communication, will go a long way to helping her become an educator.

“I was always really really quiet, but it’s a team sport so you have to learn how to cheer your teammates on and talk with your coaches,” Chow said.

Ota is a four-sport athlete at Kea`au. He captained the school’s football and soccer teams while also participating in baseball and track and field. He, like Chow, is a member of the National Honor Society. He also started an afterschool track team for Kea`au Elementary School students in his spare time.

Ota will attend Southern Utah University to major in sports science or physical education. Like his classmate, he hopes to return home to share what he learns with his community.


Kamehameha-Hawai`i graduate Naipo-Arsiga has visited Oahu many times as an athlete at a state tournament. She has been a part of the last two championships in Division II girls basketball with the Warriors and won a league championship in the sport all four seasons. She also participated in softball, cross country, and bowling. In her spare time, she volunteered with the youth group at Malia Puka O Kalani church.

Naipo-Arsiga will return to Oahu in the fall to study kinesiology and rehabilitation science at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa.

The BIIF Division I school award was given to Kea`au High School. The Cougars took home three league championships this year and worked with future student athletes, mentoring elementary and middle school students on the dangers of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco to help them make healthy choices.

In Division II, Hualalai Academy was named the winner for the third year in a row. While they may not have league championships next to their name, Hualalai’s work outside of the classroom more than made up for it. According to HMSA, students from kindergarten through twelfth grade worked on an environmental sustainability project called Eco-Blitz. The students worked in teams to identify an environmental issue and presented their projects at a school assembly.

Wrestler Clarissa Chun, bronze medalist at the London Olympic games, delivered the keynote address at the luncheon.


2013 Kaimana Awards scholarship recipients

Kepa Barrett, Kamehameha-Kapalama

Christina Chow, Kea`au*

Joy Claypoole, Island School

Kaylee Correa, Kamehameha-Maui

Sean Fukunaga, Pearl City

Tiana Grant, Kalaheo

Lucas Gushikuma, Kauai**

Elise Inouye, Kaimuki

Michael Kikukawa, Moloka`i*

Allie Kim, `Iolani

Katy Kingery, Assets School*

Noelani Murray, Kauai

Namele Naipo-Arsiga, Kamehameha-Hawai`i

Kylie Nishino, Waipahu

Talon Ota, Kea`au

Makuali`i Perry, Kamehameha-Kapalama

Carissa Ratte, Seabury Hall

Reece Teramoto, Pearl City

Lauren Uhr, `Iolani*

Jaryn Villegas, Leilehua*

Melissa Wong, Punahou

* – indicates recipient of the distinguished scholarship award

** – indicates recipient of the Robert P. Hiam scholarship award

Kaimana Award school winners

Big Island Interscholastic Federation (Division I) – Kea`au High School

Big Island Interscholastic Federation (Division II) – Hualalai Academy

Interscholastic League of Honolulu (Division I) – Mid-Pacific Institute

Interscholastic League of Honolulu (Division II) – Hawai`i Baptist Academy

Kauai Interscholastic Federation – Island School

Maui Interscholastic League (Division I) – Lahainaluna High School

Maui Interscholastic League (Division II) – Maui Preparatory Academy

Oahu Interscholastic Association (Red Division) – Mililani High School

Oahu Interscholastic Association (Blue Division) – Anuenue School

Oahu Interscholastic Association (White Division) – Kaiser High School


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