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Five Maui Students Awarded Part of $52K Scholarship from Hospitality Industry

The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association awarded 42 seniors from public high schools across the state $1,000 in scholarships for their post-graduate educations. Five Maui students, one Moloka‘i student and one Lānaʻi student were awarded scholarships at a luncheon held at The MODERN Honolulu yesterday.

Jaccie Hisashima of Maui, Lester Iwata of Hawai‘i Island, Truman Spring of O‘ahu and Grace Yatsko of Kaua‘i were recipients of a $2,500 scholarship from the HLTA Photo Courtesy

The students were selected by the Department of Education for scholastic achievements and school and community service. Each student had to have a minimum 3.2 grade point average and an extensive record of school and public service.

Harmony-Sanoe Gonsalves-Cosma of Hāna High & Elementary School, Layce Yamauchi of Baldwin High School, Jaccie Hisashima of King Kekaulike High School, Justice Tihada of Lahainaluna High School, Colleen Sakuma of Lānaʻi High School, Alexandria Tyau of Maui High School and Sonja Angst of Molokaʻi High School were recipients of the award for Maui County.

The scholarships, known as the Citizen-Scholar Awards, is a partnership of the HLTA, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Department of Education.

This year, four additional $2,500 scholarships were awarded to the top student from each of the state’s four counties.

The recipients were Jaccie Hisashima of King Kekaulike High School on Maui, Lester Iwata of Waiakea High School on Hawai‘i Island, Truman Spring of Kahuku High School on O‘ahu, and Grace Yatsko of Kapa‘a High School on Kaua‘i.

“Hawai‘i’s hospitality industry has been proud to honor the future leaders of our state and nation,” Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said. “These seniors have been selected by dint of their scholastic success as well as their invaluable contributions to their schools and our community. They represent the best of your youth devoting themselves to volunteerism and public service, and we’re delighted to recognize them for their civic leadership and selflessness.”

Jaccie Hisashima, Maui
Over the course of her schooling at Kekaulike, Hisashima has devoted over a thousand hours of service to others. She is the student body president, as well as a member of the Key Club, STEM Club, tennis team, and a taiko group. Hisashima also returns every year to her elementary school to volunteer for events such as Read Aloud America and Pumpkin Math Night, where she teaches younger students STEM subjects. Hisashima will attend Chapman University starting Fall 2017.

Lester Iwata, Hawai‘i Island
Lester Iwata has been involved in community service since the beginning of his high school career at Waiakea. He is a Key Club member, Student Government Association secretary, and a varsity baseball athlete. Iwata is currently working on a project using computer drafting programs to draw a three-dimensional model of the Hokualaka‘i voyaging canoe. By using his STEM skills, Iwata hopes to educate the community on the history of the canoe and promote Hawaiian culture. Iwata will attend the University of Portland beginning this Fall.

Truman Spring, O‘ahu
Truman Spring of Kahuku High School is the vice president of his school’s National Honor Society, captain of the Kahuku Speech & Debate team, vice president of the Drama Club, and captain of a soccer club. He is a History Day competitor who has placed in the top 10 nationally for four years, including a first-place finish. When several students from his community lacked the financial resources to compete in National History Day in Washington, D.C., a few years ago, Spring helped get the students to the competition by successfully obtaining a youth leadership grant that required 275 students to participate in 1,000 hours of service through community environmental sustainability projects. Spring will attend Brigham Young University – Provo starting this Fall.

Grace Yatsko, Kaua‘i
Grace Yatsko is president of her school’s Interact Club, member of the Civics Club, student representative for the Kapa‘a High School PTSA, and part of the National Honor Society. Yatsko also has extensive experience in volunteering with youth; she tutors first graders at Kapa‘a Elementary School, works part-time as a teacher’s aide at All Saints Preschool, and has served as a Ke Akua Youth Group leader and Sunday school teacher at her church. When a psychiatric rehabilitation organization called Friendship House was burglarized, Yatsko wrote an editorial in the local newspaper to help raise money for the organization and successfully raised nearly $500. Yatsko will attend Colorado State University starting this Fall.

“These four students represent all the finest attributes of our future leaders, and we couldn’t have selected better students to receive this special honor,” Hannemann added.

A complete list of the 2017 Citizen-Scholar Award recipients follows:

High School Student Sponsor
Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School Victoria Matos Aqua-Aston Hospitality
Aiea High School Carly Nebrija Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Anuenue School Logan Keola Island Air
Governor Wallace Rider Farrington High School Regine Louisa Ramos The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
Hana High & Elementary School Harmony-Sanoe Gonsalves-Cosma Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
Henry J. Kaiser High School Alexandria Yawata The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
Henry Perrine Baldwin High School Layce Yamauchi International Market Place
Hilo High School Jessica Valdez Castle Resorts & Hotels
Honoka`a High School Aimee Seo Ken’s House of Pancakes
James B. Castle High School Keilee Simms Enterprise Rent-A-Car
James Campbell High School Brandon Ragasa Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Ka`u High School Trevor Taylor UH Manoa, School of Travel Industry Management
Kahuku High & Intermediate School Truman Spring Hawaiian Airlines
Kailua High School Max Arakaki Trump International Hotel Waikiki
Kaimuki High School Sofia Matias Ala Moana Hotel
Kalaheo High School Matthew Darrah Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Kalani High School Mary Garrison Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Kapa`a High School Grace Yatsko Alaska Airlines
Kapolei High School Chantelle Lopez Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Kaua‘i High School Danica Marielle Ola Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association – Kauai Chapter
Kea‘au High School Ruby Kate Galapon Hawaii Gas
Kealakehe High School James Caudell Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association – Hawaii Island Chapter
King Kekaulike High School Jaccie Hisashima Maui Hotel & Lodging Association
Kohala High School Gabriella Boyle Mauna Kea Resort
Konawaena High School Ragan Leslie Hale Koa Hotel
Lahainaluna High School Justice Tihada Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club
Lanai High School Colleen Sakuma Pūlama Lāna`i
Leilehua High School Christina Masutani Sheraton Waikiki Resort
Maui High School Alexandria Tyau Island Movers
Mililani High School Mitchell Kim-Fu Pacific Beach Hotel
Moanalua High School Mami Narita Roberts Hawaii
Moloka‘i High School Sonja Angst Chelsea Group
Nanakuli High School Joey Pantil Hawaiian Electric Companies
Pahoa High & Intermediate School Cosette Daniels Big Island Candies
Pearl City High School Michael Taylor Outrigger Enterprises Group
President Theodore Roosevelt High School Madavrolyn Tausa Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
President William McKinley High School Donavan Albano First Hawaiian Bank
Waiakea High School Lester Iwata KTA Super Stores
Waialua High & Intermediate School Saige-Caleigh Dayacos Interstate Restoration
Waianae High School Rudjay Keopuhiwa Halekulani Corporation
Waimea High School BreeAnn Cayaban DOW Agroscience
Waipahu High School Andrea Lyn Mateo Halekulani & Waikiki Parc Hotel