Young Entrepreneurs Recognized at Junior Achievement Awards

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Photo courtesy of Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island.

Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island recognized 48 outstanding young entrepreneurs and awarded $3,500 in scholarships during its 37th Annual “Futures Unlimited” Awards Banquet on Jan. 24 at Sangha Hall.

Junior Achievement helps high school students develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills by guiding them through the ins and outs of small businesses, product development, marketing and sales. The awards highlight student achievements and their advisors from local businesses.

Five seniors who excelled in the program and other focuses of study were awarded $3,500 in scholarships including Maria Calso of Synergy (Kea‘au), Ruby Galapon of Aloha Co. (Kea‘au), Joy Galvez of Synergy (Kea‘au), Breena Pratt of Synergy (Hilo), and Eric Tejada of Synergy (Kea‘au).


The participating companies in this year’s entrepreneurial mentorship were Aloha Co. sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union, P.O.N.O. sponsored by Big Island Toyota, and Synergy sponsored by Bank of Hawaiʻi.

Aloha Co. was named Outstanding Company Of The Year, and was also recognized for having the highest company sales at $9,900.

P.O.N.O. was recognized for having the most compelling presence at the trade fair.


Synergy president Eric Tejada was awarded Outstanding President.

Outstanding Vice Presidents were also recognized for their contributions to their companies including Jaylen Mae Arzaga of Aloha Co. Finance, Daniel Briski of Aloha Co. Production, Maria Calso of Synergy Marketing, Keziah Soares of P.O.N.O. Human Resources, and Grace Watanabe of P.O.N.O. Public Relations.

The top three salespeople of the year were Brittney Williams of P.O.N.O. with $1,431 in sales, Kilar Fujimoto of Synergy with $1,335, and Ruby Galapon of Aloha Co. with $1,274.


Other awards were given to Ruby Galapon of Aloha Co. for Outstanding Sales Presentation, Iain Klegner of Synergy for most products sold at the trade fair, and Brittney Williams of P.O.N.O. for the highest sales at the trade fair.

This year’s Community Service award was given to Synergy in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the community.

“The growth we see in our students is obvious at the culmination of our company program with the Future Unlimited Banquet,” said Jeanine Acia, district manager for Junior Achievement of Hawaiʻi Island. “We are so proud of their efforts and know that they have bright futures. Our program would not be a success if it weren’t for our volunteer mentors who give so generously.”

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