Kealakehe High Senior Named Top County Scholar in Citizen-Scholars Award Program

June 2, 2021, 3:19 PM HST
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Kealakehe High School senior Riley Blaber was recently named the top county Scholar in the Citizen-Scholars award program.

Made possible through a partnership between the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA), the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education, the annual program awards $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from public high schools around the state. In total, 41 graduating seniors were named Citizen-Scholars, each receiving $1,000 scholarships.

Blaber received an additional $2,500 for being named the county winner.

“We are proud to partner with the Star-Advertiser and the Department of Education to recognize the exemplary work of these young leaders,” stated HLTA President & CEO Mufi Hannemann in a press release Wednesday, June 2. “Their accomplishments are all the more impressive when you consider that nearly half of their high school years coincided with a worldwide pandemic.”

Citizen-Scholars are selected by the Department of Education on the basis of their academic achievements and records of community service. They must have maintained a minimum 3.3-grade point average and have been outstanding stewards in their respective communities. Each Scholar receives a $1,000 that is paid directly to the college that they will attend.


The following Hawai‘i County students were among Citizen-Scholars selected:


Ashley A. Lavarias
Hilo High School
Dixie State University

Diesel T. Martinez
Honoka‘a High & Intermediate School
Hawai‘i Community College

Riley T. Blaber, also named top county scholar
Kealakehe High School
Cornell University


Mark Richard R. Sahagun
Kohala High School
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Aelyn Ibarra Medina
Konawaena High School
Hawai‘i Community College

Carlo A. Daquioag
Pāhoa High & Intermediate School
University of California, Berkeley

Samuel E. Garcia
Waiakea High School
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

“This is my favorite event of the entire year,” said Honolulu Star-Advertiser Chief Revenue Officer Dave Kennedy. “It warms my heart every time I hear all the bios, and all the outstanding accomplishments of these Citizen-Scholars.”

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