11 High School Seniors Awarded Scholarships from Takitani Foundation

May 30, 2021, 6:30 AM HST
* Updated May 29, 2:54 PM
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Eleven Hawai‘i Island seniors were awarded scholarships from the Takitani Foundation’s annual Legacy Scholarship program.

The students were among 61 recipients, one from each qualifying public and independent school in the state, who received scholarships based on academic achievement, community service and financial need. In total, the Foundation awarded $225,000 to students throughout the state in its Legacy Scholarship Program this year.

“Mr. and Mrs. Takitani founded Hawaiian Host, and knew hard work, innovation and commitment to excellence were key factors in their success,” said KSSK Radio personality Michael W. Perry, the Takitani Foundation Chairman of the Board. “The Takitanis wanted to recognize those same qualities in Hawaiʻi’s outstanding students with support to further their education.”

Hana-Lei Ji of Parker School received the $10,000 Mamoru Takitani Outstanding Student Award, one of the top two awards made this year. She will be attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois in the fall.

At Parker, Ji received the University of Pennsylvania Book Award for displaying “exemplary leadership, academics, athletics citizenship and community service.” She also earned Silver and Gold Key awards for her digital art pieces, some of which were on display at the state art museum and served as the captain of the school’s Speech and Debate team. Ji was named an AP Scholar with Honor from the College Board for her high achievement on multiple Advanced Placement exams, and she also participated on Parker’s Varsity tennis team since 2017, serving as team captain since junior year.


Sandy Galvez of Kea‘au High School and Tayson Hirayama of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy each received $5,000 District Finalist awards.


Galvez will be attending the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. She completed a six-week summer program with the Upward Bound Hilo program and is also a member of Bluezones, an organization that teaches students to “live a healthy life by making healthy choices” and giving back to the community. Galvez hopes to pursue a career in nursing.

Hirayama will attend the University of Washington in Seattle this fall. Hirayama has been on HPA’s Dean’s List since his freshman year, also receiving awards for his participation on the school’s football, wrestling and baseball teams. Hirayama is a member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Honoka‘a Hongwanji, assisting with the “Feeding Keiki and Kupuna” program. He plans on majoring in engineering.

Eight other seniors from Hawai‘i Island schools received a $3,000 award, including Kylie Kalauli, from Hilo High School, who was awarded the Mildred Higashi Director’s Scholarship. Kalauli will be attending Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.


The seven other $3,000 scholarship recipients from public schools are:

  • Caileen Teramoto of Konawaena High School will be attending the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
  • Mahina Kaiawe-Rivera of Pāhoa High & Intermediate School will be attending the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.
  • Kacie Tagawa of Waiākea High School will be attending the University of Oregon.
  • Sheilyn Subia of Honoka’a High School will be attending Baylor University.
  • Melakai Keohuloa of Ka’ū High School will be attending the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.
  • Pilila‘i Kaai of Kohala High School will be attending Grand Canyon University.

Additionally, Sophia Perry of Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i will be attending Northwestern University.

Mamoru and Aiko Takitani founded Hawaiian Host, Inc., manufacturer of Hawaiian Host chocolates, and established the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation, Inc. to give back to the community by providing the gift of education to the young people of Hawaiʻi. Since 1993, the Foundation has annually presented scholarships to an outstanding student from every qualifying high school in the state and has awarded over $6 million to scholarship and academic enrichment programs throughout Hawaiʻi.

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