BIIF Schools, Students Honored at HMSA Kaimana Awards
HONOLULU – HMSA held its 10th annual Kaimana Awards luncheon Saturday at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu.
The yearly event brought together schools and student-athletes to recognize outstanding performances in athletics and around the community.
Nine schools, separated by school size in each league, received the Kaimana School awards. Schools from around the state earned the award on a point system based on the following criteria: academics, athletics, community service, healthy activities, and sportsmanship. Each winning school received a check for $1,500.
Kea’au High School won its third Big Island Interscholastic Federation Large School Division award, which covers schools with 200 students or more. The Cougars were recognized for its third consecutive league paddling championship and its first girls judo championship.
Off the field, students participated in volunteer projects like health fairs and anti-drug campaigns and helped out with the Special Olympics. Kea’au was also recognized for bonding with students who were moved over from Pahoa High School because of the June 27 lava flow.
Parker High School won its second BIIF Small School Division award and its first since 2009. Students raised over 4.5 tons of food for The Food Basket and helped to organize the George Heneghan Fun Run, which drew over 200 participants ranging in ages from 3 to 70.
On top of those accomplishments, Parker students were part of numerous environmental and educational projects in the community.
A total of 15 student-athletes from across the state earned HMSA Kaimana Scholarships. While the total amount of scholarships awarded this year was less than in previous years, each student received a scholarship worth $5,000.
Each Kaimana Scholarship winner maintained a minimum grade point average of 2.75, participated in at least one league sport, graduated at the end of their senior year, and participated in volunteer activities.
Individual BIIF Kaimana awards were given to Waiakea High School’s Kaydee Rapozo and Kealakehe High School’s Cory Yamagata.
Rapozo was a two-time all-league selection in girls basketball, where she lettered all four years. Off the court, she involved herself in numerous community service projects. Her most impactful volunteer project was with the Hawai’i County Nutrition Project, calling awareness to challenges that face the island’s kupuna. She will stay at home and study biology at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.
“It’s honestly such an honor to receive this award,” said Rapozo. “It just reminds me how blessed I am in my life, not just for the award but just to know that my hard work is being recognized”
Yamagata lettered for four years with the Waveriders’ boys tennis team, where he was named the team captain. He did volunteer work through the Boy Scouts, Interact Club, and National Honor Society, focusing on refurbishing schools, calling attention to breast cancer awareness, and beach cleanups. He will continue his education at Santa Clara University, where he will work to earn a degree in mechanical engineering.
“Being recognized for the award has helped me in recognizing everyone who has helped me throughout the years,” Yamagata said.
It’s the second individual award for the Yamagata family. Cory’s brother, Trevor, won a Kaimana scholarship in 2012.
Husband-and-wife duo Steve Uyehara and Liz Chun served as the emcees for the event. Sponsors included Hawaiian Airlines and the Hawai’i High School Athletic Association.