HLTA contributes $52,000 to high school seniors at the 2018 Citizen Scholar Awards
It was an exciting day for forty-two high school seniors from across the state, as we recognized them for their accolades, achievements, and acts of community service at our annual Citizen-Scholar Awards. Over 200 students, family members, school officials, and HLTA members attended the awards program, held at the newly renovated ‘Alohilani Resort on Tuesday April 24th in the Bluefin banquet room. This year marked the 14th year that the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and the Department of Education have partnered on this event awarding one student from each of Hawai’i’s state public high schools with a $1,000 scholarship. Students were selected by dint of their scholastic achievement, as well as their impressive contributions to their school and community.
The awards luncheon opened with welcoming remarks from Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Chief Revenue Officer, Dave Kennedy, Superintendent of Education, Dr. Christina Kishimoto, and yours truly. During the luncheon, the students had the opportunity to meet with and thank their sponsors for the generous support provided.
Last year, HLTA introduced four additional $2,500 scholarships to be awarded to the top Citizen-Scholar awardee from each county. I would like to take a moment to recognize the students selected for this year’s special honor:
Hawai’i Island: Crismel Juan of Kea‘au High School
Crismel is proudest of her work this year with the statewide Hawai‘i Public Health Institute Youth Council, which involved a student-led push at the Legislature to curb smoking. She is an officer with the National Honor Society and active with the student government senate, Health Occupations Students of America, and AVID and Interact clubs. Crismel plans to attend the University of Rochester to study Biology.
Kaua‘i: Braden K.H. Kobayashi of Waimea High School
Braden, is the commander of the school’s 182-member Junior ROTC battalion. He has been in the program for four years and led the group in repainting the Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery pavilion and restoring the Hui ‘o Laka Civilian Conservation Corps camp at Koke‘e. Braden is a member of the golf and air riflery teams and is active in the National Honor Society and Interact Club, where he joins other members in organizing assemblies, volunteering for school social events, and assisting the athletics program. He plans to attend Creighton University and major in Pre-med.
Maui: Emily N. Mitra of Maui High School
As president of the National Honor Society, Emily leads her classmates in tutoring children after school through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The group also raised money to buy supplies for a nearby elementary school that was badly damaged by a fire. She is active in student government, is an officer with the Maui County 4-H, and captains the Sabers golf team. Emily will be attending California Baptist University this fall to major in Architecture.
O‘ahu: Rovi C. Porter of Kalani High School
A science and technology whiz, Rovi founded Girls in Technology, Engineering, and Computing, a class to empower girls in the coding field and is treasurer and project manager for the Kalani Robotics Academy. She is a violinist in the orchestra, captain of the varsity soccer team, and a member of the cross-country team. She volunteers through the Leo Club, as a cafeteria monitor, at the Aina Haina State Library, and the Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders Fellows Program. Rovi will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and major in Bioengineering.
Congratulations to our 2018 Citizen-Scholars! A few special mahalos: to all the sponsors for their continued support of our future leaders, to our co-emcees, Diane Ako of KITV News and journalist Yunji de Nies; and of course, to our hosts Cheryl Williams, regional vice president of sales and marketing for High Gate Hotels, and Matt Grauso, General Manager of the Alohilani Resort, and their exceptional banquet staff who helped contribute to the success of our awards ceremony.
University of Hawai’i at Manoa Travel Industry Management “Celebrate a Legacy in Tourism” dinner
Last night, the HLTA staff and I attended the UH Manoa TIM dinner, “Celebrate a Legacy in Tourism” at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. This was the 17th year that the TIM School has hosted their signature gala to raise funds for TIM School scholarships. We were happy to see many of our HLTA members in attendance contributing to such an important cause and helping recognize the TIM Legacy Award Recipient and HLTA Board Member, Jerry Gibson, Area Vice President of Hilton Hawai‘i, TIM School Hall of Honor inductee, Glenn Perry, Realtor Associate, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, and the TIM Distinguished Service award which was awarded to the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association.
I invited HLTA Chairperson, Gregg Nelson, Chairperson-Elect, Glenn Vergara, and Vice-President, Dean Nakasone to join me on stage to receive the award, The tribute to HLTA is a validation of the work that we do in the community, especially with the University of Hawai‘i TIM School. They are a strong collaborative partner with us in developing such initiatives as the Generational Mentoring Program. I also paid tribute to all the previous leaders of this august organization for the past 70 years. This is an award that we can all feel a part of. Congratulations to all our members, both past and present… “we’re all in this together.”
Deadline Approaching for Member-Exclusive Scholarships
As another busy week wraps up, I would like to take this moment to remind our membership that applications for the HLTA Member-Exclusive Scholarships are due on Monday, April 30th. Any dependent of an employee, entering an accredited post-secondary institution, is eligible and welcome to apply. We will grant two scholarships of $2,500: one for an Allied Member, and one for a Lodging Member. Again, applications are due on Monday, April 30th. For further questions, please click here or contact Jessica Caires of my staff at email@example.com.
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