10 Big Island High School Students Receive $32K in Scholarships From Takitani Foundation

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Ten Big Island high school seniors have been awarded scholarships through the Legacy Scholarship Program of the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation.

The Big Island students were among 59 recipients, one from each qualifying public and independent school in the state, who received funds based on academic achievement, community service and financial need. In total, the foundation awarded $217,000 to students throughout the state this year.

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

The Big Island students awarded scholarships are:


$5,000 District Finalist Award

  • Camylle McDonald of Kealakehe High School, daughter of Yumiko and Ty McDonald, received this award. She ranked No. 1 in her class and is an Advanced Placement Scholar. She was part of a team of students who participated in the National Rocketry Challenge, with the team earning National Finalist status. McDonald also was an active participant in Kealakehe High’s Interact Club, raising funds for local and global charities. She will attend Georgia Institute of Technology next fall.

$3,000 scholarship awards — Hawaiʻi District Public Schools

  • Maya Oishi of Hilo High School, daughter of Michelle and Curt Oishi, will attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall.
  • Jake Bannister of Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School, son of Prantiss and John Bannister, will attend the University of Portland in Oregon.
  • Baily Gapusan of Keaʻau High School, son of Jessica and Brandon Gapusan, will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., next fall.
  • Kymani Alani of Konawaena High School, daughter of Lea and Arley Alani Jr., will attend Washington State University in the fall.
  • Ashlee Kubo of Pāhoa High and Intermediate School, daughter of Leticia Abalos, will attend Grand Canyon University in Arizona this fall.
  • Matthew Labasan of Waiākea High School in Hilo, the son of Anabelle and Samuelito Labasan, will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst this fall.

$3,000 scholarship awards — Hawaiʻi Association of Independent Schools

  • Lily Kassis of Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy in Waimea, daughter of Patricia and Marc Kassis, will attend Simmons University in Boston.
  • Jacob Momohara of Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i in Keaʻau, son of Cheryl Hickey-Momohara and Sy Momohara, will attend the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa this fall.
  • Eleanore Kowardy of Parker School in Waimea, daughter of Nancy Campbell and Kevin Kowardy, will attend Haverford College in Pennsylvania this fall.

Mamoru and Aiko Takitani founded Hawaiian Host, manufacturer of Hawaiian Host chocolates, and established the Takitani Foundation to give the gift of education to the young people of Hawaiʻi. Since 1993, the foundation has awarded more than $11 million to scholarship and academic enrichment programs throughout the state.

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