East Hawaii News

Keauhou Canoe Club awards two scholarships

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Kianni Dodson of Waikoloa and Noa Riznyk of are the 2023 recently received $2,000 during a presentation at the club’s birthday potluck at the KCC canoe halau. (Image from KCC).

Two Hawai’i Island graduating seniors are claiming the 2023 scholarships from Keauhou Canoe Club (KCC).

Kianni Dodson and Noa Riznyk received $2,000 during a presentation at the club’s birthday potluck at the KCC canoe halau.

Kianni Dodson won the James F. Rodgers Academic Achievement Scholarship and plans to attend Hawaii Pacific University and major in nursing. An avid paddler, Dodson has paddled with Waikoloa Canoe Club, and more recently with KCC. At Kealakehe High School (KHS), the student leader served as president of the Kealakehe Key Club and founded the KHS Book Club while working in the school’s library.


“Paddling and academics, along with my passion for leadership, have always been at the forefront of my life, educating and inspiring me to enjoy servicing the community,” shares Dodson. “Serving others will always be part of my goal in life, whether that is academically, athletically, or in my future career in medicine.”

Noa Riznyk received the Mike Haines Merit Achievement Scholarship. A graduate of West Hawai’i Explorations Academy, Riznyk will major in business management and minor in environmental studies at the University of Nevada in Reno.

Fond of ocean activities—swimming, fishing, surfing, diving and paddling with the Big Island Junior Va‘a program—he attributes them to being formative of “who he is and how he wants to serve his community.” Riznyk has volunteered for local companies and organizations to help with environmental initiatives such as sustainable fish farming and removing invasive species from anchialine ponds.


“Throughout my life, the ocean has been my playground, but also my classroom,” says Riznyk. “The ocean has taught me to be humble, respectful, patient and to work hard. As I prepare to paddle out in my canoe into unknown waters and an uncertain future, I feel confident that my knowledge and skills will carry me in the right direction.”

According to a press release, 30 local seniors have received scholarships totaling $41,500 from Keauhou Canoe Club in the past 16 years. The club annually awards scholarships to west side Hawai’i Island graduating seniors who have at least two years recent paddling experience in a school athletic program or paddling club.

Keauhou Canoe Club was founded in 1980. The mission of Keauhou Canoe Club is to educate the youth, their membership and the community at large about Hawaiian culture, values and traditions. KCC provides paddling opportunities for people of all ages. For more information visit www.keauhoucanoeclub.com.

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