10 Big Island High School Students Receive $32,000 in Takitani Foundation Scholarships

May 30, 2022, 6:30 a.m. HST
* Updated May 29, 1:41 p.m.

Ten Big Island high school students have received scholarships through the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation’s Legacy Scholarship Program.

The Big Island students were among 59 recipients, one from each eligible 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 across the state this year.

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

The Big Island students on scholarships are:

$5,000 District Finalist Award

  • Camille Mcdonald of Kealakehe High School, daughter of Yumiko and Ty McDonald, received this award. She ranked #1 in her class and is an Advanced Placement Scholar. She was part of a team of students who competed in the National Rocketry Challenge, with the team earning national runner-up status. McDonald was also an active participant in the Kealakehe High Interact Club, raising funds for local and global charities. She will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology next fall.

$3,000 Scholarships – Hawaii 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 Banister of Honokaʻa High and Intermediate School, son of Prantiss and John Bannister, will attend the University of Portland in Oregon.
  • Baily Gapusan of high school Keaʻau, son of Jessica and Brandon Gapusan, will attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida 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 from Waiākea High School in Hilo, the son of Anabelle and Samuelito Labasan, will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst this fall.

$3,000 Scholarships – Hawaiian Association of Independent Schools

  • Lily Kassis from Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea, daughter of Patricia and Marc Kassis, will attend Simmons University in Boston.
  • Jacob Momohara of Kamehameha Hawai’i Schools in Keaʻau, son of Cheryl Hickey-Momohara and Sy Momohara, will attend the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa this fall.
  • Eleanor Kowardy from 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, maker of Hawaiian Host chocolates, and established the Takitani Foundation to provide education to young people in Hawaii. Since 1993, the foundation has awarded more than $11 million for scholarship and academic enrichment programs statewide.

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