Former Miss Hawai‘i Leads Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition

May 16, 2019, 8:30 AM HST (Updated May 16, 2019, 11:15 AM)
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Miss Aloha Hawai‘i Jeanné Kapela. PC: Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawai‘i’s oldest food festival, has appointed Jeannè Kapela as its new Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition executive director.

The UCC Hawaii Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition has been held as a prominent part of the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival since its inception in 1970. Duties of the new director include overseeing recruitment of contestants, event management and chaperone details.

Kapela has Kona coffee in her DNA, as she was born in Kona and raised on a small coffee farm in Captain Cook. She has competed in pageants locally, statewide and on a national level.

Kapela was the 2014 Miss Kona Coffee, went on to win the Miss Hawaii crown in 2015 while capturing both the swimsuit and talent awards. She competed that year at the Miss America pageant and won the Miss Congeniality title.

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A graduate of Konawaena High School, she is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in social justice from Harvard University.

“The mission of Miss America is to prepare great women for the world, and to prepare the world for great women,” said Kapela. “My goal as executive director is to not only perpetuate the time-honored traditions of Kona coffee, but to also shape and empower young female leaders of tomorrow. I aspire to teach young women to use their voices to make change in our community and to believe in the beauty of their own dreams.”

Since winning the Miss Hawai‘i crown in 2015, Kapela has gone on to coach numerous candidates for Miss Hawai‘i, Miss Hawai‘i’s Outstanding Teen Organization, Cherry Blossom Festival Pageant, Narcissus Festival & Pageant, and many others. As an accomplished performer and choreographer, Kapela produced the 2018 Miss Kona Coffee Competition and is currently a teacher at Kona Dance and Performing Arts.

“The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Board of Directors is very excited to have Jeanné come aboard as executive director of the competition,” said Festival President Valerie Corcoran. “Her experience and organizational capacity match up with new pageant standards. We look forward to seeing the Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition blossom under her leadership.”

UCC Hawai‘i is the longtime title sponsor of the Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Competition. It proudly supports the scholarship competition and provide each newly crowned Miss Kona Coffee with an all-expense trip to Japan to promote Kona coffee at coffee trade shows and many UCC coffee shops throughout Japan.

When asked about her commitment and excitement to lead the Miss Kona Coffee competition, Kapela said, “For any young woman who strives to go to college, to be involved in our community, or make memories that will last a lifetime, being apart of the Miss Kona Coffee Organization is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!”

Interested competitors are encouraged to contact Kapela at (808) 854-1148 or [email protected].

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is supported by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and made possible through the support of UCC Ueshima Coffee Co. Ltd., Kamehameha Schools, Alaska Airlines, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union and numerous other corporate and community donors.

About Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

The award-winning Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is recognized as the oldest and one of the most successful food festivals in Hawai‘i. The 2019 Festival starts brewing Nov. 1 through 10 with 10 days of events promoting Hawai‘i’s unique culture and diversity, and supporting the festival’s mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique coffee heritage.

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