Entrepreneurs Recognized At Junior Achievement Awards Banquet

February 4, 2018, 6:30 PM HST
* Updated February 4, 6:28 PM
Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio...

At an awards banquet held on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Sanga Hall in Hilo, Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island congratulated outstanding young entrepreneurs and awarded $3,500 in scholarships.

The Junior Achievement company program helps high school students develop leadership and entrepreneurship skills by guiding them through the creation of a small business, from product development to marketing and sales. The awards recognize the hard work of the students and advisors from local businesses.

2018 Company of the Year, Branching Out, sponsored by Big Island Toyota. Photo courtesy Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island

A familiar face returned home to Hilo to keynote the awards banquet. Jimmy Chan, founder of the Hawaiian Chip Company, is a 1993 Waiākea High School graduate and a Junior Achievement company program alumnus. He shared his entrepreneurial journey with the audience, and spoke about the importance of the lessons he learned through Junior Achievement.

Guest speaker Jimmy Chan of the Hawaiian Chip Company. Photo courtesy Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island

The three student companies participating in this cycle were Branching Out sponsored by Big Island Toyota, Young Creations sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union, and Zenith sponsored by HPM Building Supply. Company members sold their products to friends and family, and to the public at a trade fair held at Prince Kūhiō Plaza in November. Over the course of the cycle, the companies sold over $31,000 in merchandise.

Branching Out was named Outstanding Company Of The Year, and was also recognized for having the highest company sales at $11,652. Zenith was recognized for having the most compelling presence at the trade fair.

Scholarship Recipients (left to right): Albert Zuniga, Keziah Soares, Naya Nguyen, Brittney Williams, Crismel Juan. Photo courtesy Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island


There was a tie for Outstanding President – awards were presented to Daniel Briski of Young Creations and Brittney Williams of Branching Out. Outstanding Vice Presidents were also recognized for their contributions to their companies: Kanoe Kama (Branching Out – Finance), Kalsey Nacis Jr. (Branching Out – Production), Naya Nguyen (Branching Out – Marketing), Keziah Soares (Branching Out – Human Resources) and Kira Taylor (Young Creations – Public Relations) received the awards.


The top three salespeople of the year were Tristen Cullio of Branching Out with $2,277 in sales, Brittney Williams of Branching Out with $2,050 and Daniel Briski of Young Creations with $1,063.

Other awards were given to Naya Nguyen of Branching Out for Outstanding Sales Presentation and Brittney Williams of Branching Out for most products sold and highest individual sales at the trade fair.

The Junior Achievement sponsoring businesses instill the value of community service in their own employees and set excellent examples for the participants. Companies collaborated with Hale Ānuenue Restorative Care Center, Operation Christmas, and an effort to send aloha to members of the U.S. military abroad. This year’s Community Service award was given to Young Creations in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the community.


In addition to the awards recognizing achievement in the program, $3,500 in scholarships were awarded to six seniors who excelled both in the program and in other aspects of scholastic life: Crismel Juan of Young Creations (Kea‘au), Naya Nguyen of Branching Out (Waiākea), Princess Fatimah Rasalan of Young Creations (Kea‘au), Keziah Soares of Branching Out (Kea‘au), Brittney Williams of Branching Out (Waiākea), and Alfred Zuniga of Zenith (Kea‘au). This is the 29th year that Junior Achievement of Hawai‘i Island has awarded scholarships to participants.

“We are so proud of our students’ efforts and know that they have bright futures,” said district manager for Junior Achievement of Hawaiʻi Island Jeanine Acia. “The Futures Unlimited Banquet is a great opportunity to celebrate their success. We also must thank our volunteer mentors who give so generously – our program would not be a success if it weren’t for them.”

Junior Achievement is an organization founded in 1919 that fosters work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills in students nationwide. Locally, the organization is powered by members of Hawai‘i Island’s business community who serve as advisors, sponsors, and volunteers. To get Junior Achievement in your K-12 classroom, or to get involved as a volunteer or sponsor, contact District Manager Jeanine Acia at (808) 292-0570 or [email protected].

Full Listing of Award Recipients:

100 Percent Attendance Award

  • Branching Out – Callista Cava, Tristen Cullio, Aaryn Hoota, Kanoe Kama, Naya Nguyen, Keziah Soares, Kala Van Veen and Brittney Williams.
  • Young Creations – Wilmer Agpaoa, Jaylen Mae Arzaga, Daniel Briski, Dane Dupre, Francina Fabian, Phoebe Furuli, K-Talyn Keter, Kayla Okazaki, Nathan O’Leary, Katelin Paderan, Isabel Portillo, Princess Fatimah Rasalan, Emma Reed, Kailen Scanlon, Kira Taylor and Emilia Wagner-Prekaski.
  • Zenith – Riezhelle Agpaoa, Shayna Atiz, AJ Care, Mikaela Durch, John Carlo Galamay, Anela Kaneshiro, Iain Klegner, Kamakana Liwai, Mika Odaira, Esse Soyon, Thane Todd and  Shwe Win.

Achiever Award

  • Branching Out – Sydirah Aricayos, Kimokeo Bowden, Callista Cava, Rio Chopot, Tristen Cullio, Anthony Freitas, Alicia Freitas, Aaryn Hoota, Roger Kirkland-Obra, Kysha Rae Paglinawan-Pacheco, Kyla Rae Paglinawan-Pacheco, Carina Shintaku, Hope Surigao and Kala Van Veen.
  • Young Creations – Seth Bello, Sophia Booth, Dane Dupre, Francina Fabian, Bryana Grace, Crismel Juan, K-Talyn Keter, Shyshy Kopura, Hermione Mikami, Kayla Okazaki, Nathan O’Leary, Katelin Paderan, Isabel Portillo, Princess Fatimah Rasalan, Emma Reed and Kailey Scanlon.
  • Zenith – Nicolas Boo Rivera, John Bruce, AJ Care, Anela Kaneshiro, John Kenny, Minji Kim, Iain Klegner, Lorain Likich,e Kamakana Liwai, Mika Odaira, Chaselin Ogata, Leilauna Olson, Esse Soyon and Shwe Win.

$1,000 Sales Club

  • Branching Out – Tristen Cullio and Brittney Williams
  • Young Creations –  Daniel Briski and Rysa Lee Dela Cruz
  • Zenith – Albert Zuniga

$500 to $999 Sales Club

  • Branching Out – Kanoe Kama, Keziah Soares and Hope Surigao.
  • Young Creations – Wilmer Agpaoa, Jaylen Mae Arzaga, Kaylee Marques and Hermione Mikami.
  • Zenith – AJ Care and Iain Klegner.

$300 and $400 Sales Clubs

  • Branching Out – Kimokeo Bowden, Alicia Freitas, Kekoa Gomes, Aaryn Hoota, Keiko Mills, Naya Nguyen and Kala Van Veen.
  • Young Creations – Seth Bello, Phoebe Furuli, Mikyla Nakila, Nathan O’Leary, Princess Fatimah Rasalan, Kailey Scanlon and Titongi Taomia.
  • Zenith – Shayna Atiz, Brianna Diaz-Escobar, Mikaela Durch, Mika Odaira and Fiona Supan.

Executive Award

  • Branching Out – Kekoa Gomes, Kanoe Kama, Kalsey Nacis Jr., Naya Nguyen, Jaden Padamada, Keziah Soares and Brittany Williams.
  • Young Creations – Wilmer Agpaoa, Jaylen Mar Arzaga, Daniel Briski, Maribel Dela Cruz, Phoebe Furuli, Kaylee Marques, Jadon Smith, Titongi Taomia, Kira Taylor and Emilia Wagner-Prekaski.
  • Zenith – Riezhelle Agpaoa, Shayna Atiz, Sabina Boo Rivera, Mikaela Durch, Kyla Fabiani, John Carlo Galamay, Fiona Supan, Thane Todd, Corbin Warmbier and Albert Zuniga.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Mahalo for Subscribing


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments