Kona-Cali Scholars

2013

1st Place 2013 Recipient- Jesse Irwin

Award $3,000
High School- Baldwin
University- Chico
Major- Music Industry/Technology

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Bio coming soon

2013

2nd Place 2013 Recipient- Paul Gagorik

Award $2,000
High School- Hilo
University- Loyola Marymount
Major- Mechanical Engineering

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Bio coming soon

2013

3rd Place 2013 Recipient- Trevor Tanaka

Award $1,000
High School- Konawaena
University- Chapman
Major- Pre-medicine/Bio Engineering

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Bio coming soon

2013

4th Place 2013 Recipient- Rysen Otomo

Award $500
High School- Baldwin
University- Stanford
Major- Electrical Engineering

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Bio coming soon

2012

1st Place Recipient- Sage Aoki

Award $3,000
High School- Konawaena
University- Santa Clara
Major- Science/Engineering
Career Path- Engineer

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Sage AokiSage was born and raised in Kealakekua, went to Konawaena elem, middle, and
high schools. He ended up with a 3.8 GPA and graduated magna cum laude
along with a BOE diploma.  Sage wrestled all four years oh high school, was
captain for the last two, and took states my senior year.  He also played
baseball sophomore and junior year.  Sage was treasurer for our Leo club, VP
of our Japan club, and member of the NHS.  He will be attending Santa Clara
University and studying civil engineering.  He’d like to thank his family for
supporting him and pushing him to achieve all that he has so far and more.
Also his friends for sticking by my side and keeping him sane throughout high
school.  And lastly, the Kona California scholarship foundation for making
it that much more easy to allow me to go to the college that he truly
wanted to.

2nd Place Recipient- Daryl Diaz

Award $2,000
High School- Kohala
University- American Musical and Dramatic Academy
Major- Theater
Career Path- Acting/Theater

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National Honor Society member, President of Kohala Performing Arts Club, and vice president of sophomore class and of Student Council his senior year, Daryl Jim Diaz graduated from Kohala High School in 2012 with Honors, Magna, and a Recognition Diploma. He will attend American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles to be Musical Theater major in the summer of 2012. Through out his high school career, he often participated in community service, playing on Kohala High’s tennis team all for years, while maintaining his 3.5 and higher G.P.A. Daryl Jim Diaz would love to thank his family and friends for supporting who he is and who he strives to be. He also thanks Kona California Scholarship organization for their amazing scholarship which helps bring him closer to his goals and dreams.

3rd Place Recipient- Michael Schutte

Award $1,000
High School- Hawaii Preparatory Academy
University- SDSU
Major- Business/Management
Career Path- Business/Rancher

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Michael SchutteMichael Kawohi Schutte was born and raised in the island of Hawaii. Lived his entire life in Gods country, Waimea. During school was involved with the student ambassadors and the red cross club. Is a active member of Mana Christian Ohana church, and is a contributing member of Hui Aloha Kiholo. Graduated from Hawaii Preparatory Academy with high honors and academic excellence. Through out his high school athletic years participated primarily in football and he will be heading off to San Diego State University where Kawohi will be pursuing a career in business. Kawohi would like to thank Akua, his family and the Kona-California scholarship for helping him to fulfill his dream of being a college graduate.

2011

1st Place Recipient- Rachel Miyata

Award- $3,000
High School- Konawaena
University- Chapman
Major- Medicine
Career Path- Geriatrician/Elder Law

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Rachel Miyata graduated from Konawaena High School in 2011 with Magna Cum Laude and a BOE Diploma and will attend Chapman University in Orange, California in the fall of 2011.  She will be majoring in Pre-Law, with a minor in Political Science.  Throughout High School, she managed her time volunteering for community service, participating in sports, and being actively involved in her school’s clubs.  During her High School Career, she held class officer and club officer positions for all four years.  She participated in three sports, Varsity Swim, Cross Country and Tennis, and went to states in the year 2009 for HHSAA Tennis.  She was a member of the National Honors Society, Interact Club, Japanese Club, Leo Club, Hiking Club, and Science Club.  She has volunteered over 120 hours at Kona Adult Day Center and 75 hours as a Algebra 1 tutor in her senior year.  Rachel would like to thank her parents, Bruce and Grace for all of their support and love throughout her life, and the Kona California Scholarship organization for their generous scholarship.

2nd Place Recipient- Megan Kurohara

Award $2,000
High School- Hilo
University- Stanford
Major- Bio-Engineering
Career Path- Medicine

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Megan Kurohara was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. She graduated from Hilo High School as Valedictorian, will be attending Stanford University in the fall, and plans to major in bioengineering. In high school Megan was heavily involved with science research, community service, and school activities. During her sophomore and junior year, after conducting independent original research, she qualified for and competed in Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair. In 2010, she and her partner won a 2nd Place Grand Team Award at the fair for their work with the photobiological production of hydrogen. In 2010, she was also named a Prudential Spirit of Community Distinguished Finalist for the State of Hawaii for her work in revitalizing downtown Hilo. Megan would like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to her parents, teachers, advisors, and especially her science fair mentor, Dr. Jonathan Awaya, for their continuous guidance and support, without which none of her successes would have been possible.

3rd Place Recipient- Micah Tanoai

Award- $1,000
High School- Hawaii Preparatory Academy
University- Palomar City College
Major- Fire Science
Career Path- Firefighter

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Micah was born and raised in Kailua-Kona and spent his high school years at Makualani and then HPA. An accomplished athlete, Micah helped his paddling and football teams earn multiple division titles and compete in Hawaii state championships. Micah will study to be a paramedic at Palomar Community College and aims to eventually return to Hawaii to work as a fireman.

2010

1st Place Recipient-Alexandra Aoki

Award- $2,000
High School- Konawaena
University- Cal Poly SLO
Major- Business Marketing
Career Path- Marketing Tourism

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Alexandra Aoki grew up in the city of Kealakekua and graduated from Konawaena High School with a BOE diploma.  She will be attending California Polytechnic State University majoring in Marketing.  Some of her achievements in high school include 4X Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF) Champion and 3X State Placer.  She was also the president of the Kona 4-H Federation from 2008-2010.  Alexandra graduated top ten percent magna cum and was a member of the National Honors Society.  She enjoys judo and dance and was one of the recipients for the 2010 Salute to the graduates under the category athletics.

2nd Place Recipient-Alyx Capri

Award- $1,000
High School- Kealakehe
University- SBCC/UCSB
Major- Global Studies
Career Path- International Business

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Alyx Capri was born and raised in Kailua-Kona.  Her junior year of high school was spent the entire year abroad in Italy as an exchange student with the Rotary club of Kona.  Alyx attended Kealakehe High School and was actively involved with Interact, the National Honors Society, and sports such as soccer and paddling.  After graduating high school, Alyx plans to spend her summer in Europe before attending her freshmen year in college in Santa Barbara.

3rd Place Recipient-Malia Tanaka

Award- $500
High School- Konawaena
University- Chapman
Major- Political Science/Communications
Career Path- Law/Public Service

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Malia Tanaka graduated from Konawaena High School in 2009 magna cum laude and currently attends Chapman University in Orange, California, on an academic scholarship where she is double majoring in Political Science and Communications, with a minor in Leadership.  During high school, Malia divided her time among leadership, sports, and community service activities.  In addition to holding class officer, club officer, and student body positions, she was also Co-Chair of the Big Island Association of Student Councils, a member of the Hawaii State Student Council where she served as Chairperson of its Communications Committee, a participant in the E Malama Kakou project (a year-long leadership development program), and a Hawaii delegate at the National Association of Student Councils Annual Conference in Texas.  She was a member of the National Honor Society, a member of the Leo, Invisible Children, and Interact Clubs, and a weekly volunteer at Hospice of Kona.  She was also a member of the Varsity Soccer (BIIF Girls Division I Champions 2005-2008), Basketball (Hawaii State Girls Division I Champions 2007), Cross-Country and Track teams.  Malia would like to extend a heartfelt mahalo to organizations such as the Kona-California Scholarship organization for their support and investment in the Kona’s youth.

4th Place Recipient-Daniel Beaver

Award- $250
High School- Konawaena
University- SBCC/UCSB
Major- Bus/Computer Science
Career Path- Business

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Daniel Bever was born and raised in Kailua-Kona. Daniel was team captain and player of the year of his volleyball team during his senior year of high school. He enjoys several sports such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, weight lifting, and badminton. He also participated in  a program called running start which enabled him to take college classes during his senior year of high school.   After graduating high school, Daniel plans to attend his freshman year of college in Santa Barbara. He plans to major in sports science, or marketing.

2009

1st Place Recipient- Colette Masunaga

Award- $1,000
High School- Konawaena
University- American River College/UC Davis
Major- Science and Society
Career Path- Doctor

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Colette Masunaga has spent much of her high school career overseas. She has traveled to Japan as an exchange student as well as a youth ambassador, served as a senate page under Senator Inouye in Washington DC, and has been apart of the TREE Hawaii exchange with the Navajo and Yavapai-Apache tribes in Arizona. Her most recent endeavor was being a Rotary youth exchange student to Thailand this past year. Despite her busy schedule Colette made time for school activities such as NHS, Japanese club, Tennis, and Water Polo. She graduated top ten percent in her class and will be attending American River College on a full ride scholarship sponsored by the D & J scholarship fund. Colette plans to major in Biology.

2nd Place Recipient- Corrie Kamigaki

Award- $500
High School- Konawaena
University- USD
Major- Speech Language and Pathology & Audiology
Career Path- Speech Language and Pathology & Audiology

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Corrie is a proud graduate of Konawaena High School. During her years in high school she enjoyed being active in her school and community. In her senior year, she was the senior class treasurer, president of the National Honor Society, vice president of Konawaena’s Leo club, and her 4-H club’s vice president. A few of her accomplishments included, being recognized as a National 4-H Congress Delegate, which allowed her to travel to Atlanta, Georgia and meet other 4-Hers from around the nation, as well as being a part of the Japan-American Society: Japan Wizards Competition 1st Place Team, gaining the opportunity to travel to Japan. She is also very proud of her accomplishment in making it to the tennis state tournament this year, competing in the doubles division with one of her best friends as her partner. Corrie is looking forward to a new beginning attending the University of San Diego starting this fall and would like to thank the Kona-California Scholarship for all of their help and support.

3rd Place Recipient- Mark Simpliciano

Award- $250
High School- Kealakehe
University- SDSU
Major- Political Science
Career Path- Politician

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Mr. Simpliciano has truly experience life lessons and experiences in his life. By the inspiration of his parents, who are immigrants from the Philippines who came here with the hopes that they can provide their kids and themselves the American dream. He has also gained life lessons by taking care of his autistic brother, learning values of life, many do not experience with. As a student in Kealakehe High School, mark has been involved with various activities and clubs, and has graduated in the top ten percent of his class with a 3.8 GPA. With these lessons Mark has learned, he is determine to
fulfill his parents dream of having their children grasp the promises America has to offer. By doing so, Mark will be attending San Diego State University majoring in Political science, with hopes of becoming a politician.

2008

1st Place Recipient- Caylin Gans

Award- $1,620
High School- Kealakehe
University- UCSD
Major- Anthropology/Archaeology
Career Path- Undecided

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Ms. Gans participated in many academic and extracurricular activities while attending high school.  She enjoyed taking AP and Honors classes, was strongly devoted to Kealakehe High School Interact Club, was a member of National Honor Society, and participated in track, cross-country, and paddling.  She also tutored elementary and middle school students in math. Caylin is interested in anthropology and archaeology, but will purse a variety of interests while attending University of California, San Diego.

2nd Place Recipient- Jennie Barto

Award- $1,120
High School- Konawaena
University- Chico State
Major- Kinesiology
Career Path- Trainer/Physical Therapist

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Ms. Barto will be attending college at California State University, Chico where she will pursue a major in Kinesiology with the hopes of someday becoming an athletic trainer, physical therapist or possibly a college soccer coach.  Jennie will also be playing on the CSU Women’s Soccer team.  While at Konawaena High School, she was involved with soccer, cross country and track. She was also a member of the National Honor Society.

3rd Place Recipient- Shina Tohara

Award- $500
High School- Kealakehe
University- Chico State
Major- Broadcast Journalism
Career Path- TV

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While attending Kealakehe High School, Ms. Tohara held office in the student council, and was involved with Interact and the National Honor Society.  She was also very athletic, and was on the cross country, wrestling and water polo teams.  Shina was also recognized as one of this years valedictorian’s, and will be attending the University of California at Chico.

2007

1st Place Recipient- Daryl Joyce Presiados

Award- $500
High School- Kealakehe
University- SDSU
Major- Nursing
Career Path- Nursing

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Ms. Joyce’s early childhood in the Philippines has inspired her to take advantage of the educational and career opportunities in the US. As a student at Kealakehe High, she achieved a 3.8 GPA. Inspired by her older sister’s example, she plans to attend college in San Diego and eventually work as a traveling nurse.

2nd Place Recipient- Shiori Fujishige

Award- $500
High School- Kealakehe
University- Redlands
Major- International Business
Career Path- Hospitality

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Her multicultural background and travel experience led Ms. Fujishige to an interest in the world. During high school, she worked at The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, where she shared the Aloha spirit with guests of different nationalities. Ms. Fujishige will pursue this career path by studying international business at the University of Redlands.

3rd Place Recipient- Chelsea Gans

Award- $250
High School- Kealakehe
University- Chico State
Major- Liberal Arts
Career Path- Teacher

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Growing up in Kona has taught Ms. Gans to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to her. She has been fascinated by Hawaiian Culture and Marine Biology, and looks forward to a career that allows her to “explore and be hands on.” Ms. Gans will study Liberal Arts at Chico State University.

2006

1st Place Recipient- Chelsee Furukawa

Award- $750
High School- Konawaena
University- Chapman
Major- Pre-medicine
Career Path- Doctor(Dermatology)

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Chelsee is an accomplished scholar, athlete, and volunteer. Her leadership experience at Konawaena High School includes serving as president of the National Honor Society and treasurer of the student government. She also participated in Interact, Leo Club, and the Japanese Club. In the realm of sports, Chelsee played both soccer and tennis, and spent four years as the captain of the bowling team. As a volunteer, she was active in Hawaii’s 4-H club, and plans to continue working with its California equivalent, H.E.L.P., as a way to build her leadership skills and contribute to the local community. Because of her achievements at Konawaena, Chelsee won the Dean’s Scholarship to pursue a major in pre-medicine at Chapman University.
After college and medical school in California, Chelsee plans to return to Kona to work as a doctor. She is concerned that because of a shortage of dermatologists on the Big Island, patients often wait six weeks to see a specialist about skin problems. She plans to improve the quality of medical care available to the Kona community by opening her own dermatology clinic.

2nd Place Recipient- Kimberly Manago

Award- $375
High School- Konawaena
University- UCLA
Major- Civil Engineering
Career Path- Entrepreneur

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Kimberly describes herself as a “hard worker” with many extracurricular interests. In addition to her studies, Kimberly has been involved in Konawaena Student Government, Leo Club, National Honor Society, Math League, and Japanese Club. Outside of school, she has volunteered and worked with the 4-H club.
As a student at UCLA, Kimberly will pursue a major in Civil Engineering. After graduate school, she plans to begin her career by working in California for a few years. Using this experience, she would like to open her own engineering firm in Kona. Kimberly feels that growing up in Kona has taught her to recognize opportunities and strive to take advantage of them.

2005

1st Place Recipient- McKenzie Weimer

Award- $750
High School- Kealakehe
University- SDSU
Major- Child Family Development
Career Path- Help children with autism

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McKenzie Weimer, a student at San Diego State University (SDSU), is the first Kona-California Scholar and the recipient of the $750 award. Graduating from Kealakehe High School in 2002 with a 3.7 GPA allowed her to visit California for the first time, to enroll in college. McKenzie maintained excellent grades at Mesa Junior College, and transferred to SDSU, where she is pursuing a major in Child and Family Development. She supports herself financially by working as a full time nanny for a child with autism. She feels that her upbringing in Kona and continued support from friends and family give her the strength she needs to face challenges and share with others. Her future plans include a master’s degree and a career in child counseling.
The Kona-California Scholarship Committee congratulates McKenzie for her academic achievements and community service. May she find further success and continue to share the Aloha Spirit!