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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.

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

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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

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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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