Awarding scholarships is a major objective of HLTA. One of our challenges with our scholarships is identifying worthy and eligible candidates each and every year, especially the applications that have specific criteria. Determined to revitalize our scholarship activity with the Pauahi Foundation, I reached out to Pauahi trustee Lance Wilhelm, who put me in touch with Pauahi's interim executive director Pono Ma'a, both long time friends of mine, and in a series of meetings we managed to revitalize the process. Last Thursday, HLTA Vice President Dean Nakasone and Oahu Chapter chairperson Bonnie Kiyabu of the Hyatt, a Kamehameha alumnus, attended the Pauahi Foundation’s Ko‘olua Reception at Kamehameha Schools Kapalama Campus to recognize the recipients of this year's HLTA’s Pouhana Hokele and the Don Ho Legacy scholarships.
The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Pouhana Hokele Scholarship, which underwent a name change this year, supports students pursuing a career in the visitor industry with an emphasis on hotel management. Recipients of this scholarship aim to pursue a career in the lodging industry in Hawaii upon graduation. This year’s HLTA Pouhana Hokele scholarship recipients were Bree Blake of Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC) and Trent Sakuma, who also attends KCC.
Blake was born and raised in Koloa, Kauai and moved to O’ahu in January of 2016 to pursue a Tourism Industry Management major and Japanese language minor at KCC. She grew up volunteering through her church, participating in community service projects such as visiting the elderly at the Kauai Care Home, cleaning up the veteran’s graveyard in Hanapepe, and volunteering at the humane society.
Sakuma is pursuing his education in Hospitality Management and Hawaiian Studies with aspirations to one day become a Cultural Director at the Sheraton Waikiki. He has been working in the tourism industry with 8 years as a Tour Driver, and volunteers as a Makai Watcher at the Pupukea-Waimea Marine Life Conservation District, where he educates visitors and community members about preserving Hawaii’s coastal areas.
This year, we introduced the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association Don Ho Legacy scholarship, which supports students who are pursuing post-high school studies in the field of arts and music. The recipient of this year’s scholarship was Daylan-Blake Kalai, who will be attending New York University this Fall to pursue a career in acting. A Hilo native, Kalai recently graduated from Kamehameha Schools on the Big Island, where he was greatly involved in the performing arts program. Last year, he starred in the Hawaiian language opera Ha‘upu, which took him and his classmates to Edinburgh, Scotland to perform in the world’s largest performing arts festival.
This Thursday evening, the Kauai Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 2nd Quarter Membership Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, sponsored by their Na Molokama sponsors, DOW AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and Hartung Brothers in partnership with HLTA and our Kauai Chapter. This is the second time that we have engaged with the Kauai Chamber in supporting one of their meetings.
The theme is athletics with a focus on "Sports Tourism" through the University of Hawai'i. HLTA took the lead in working with the University of Hawai'i Athletic Department to put together an all-star lineup of its coaches to participate at the Chamber's quarterly meeting. The evening will feature UH Athletic Director David Matlin as a guest speaker, accompanied by Assistant Athletic Director Lois Manin, and Associate Athletic Director of External Affairs Joel Matsunaga. And, the coaches of seven UH sports teams will be there including: Football Nick Rolovich, Men’s Basketball Eran Ganot, Women's Basketball Laura Beeman, Men's Volleyball Charlie Wade, Women's Beach Volleyball Jeff Hall, Men’s Baseball Mike Trapasso, and Women's Softball Deirdre (Dee) Wisneski. In addition to business leaders, a special outreach is being made to sports fans and coaches in every facet of athletics at all levels on Kauai to attend. Those who are planning to be there are encouraged to wear the colors of the Rainbow Warriors and will also be able to purchase UH athletic products at the merchandise table. This is a very unique opportunity to meet these special individuals, and especially rare to have so many heavy hitters of the UH Athletic Department at a single event! We highly encourage you to attend and you can still purchase tickets while they last by going on line to Kauaichamber.org. For more info, please call 245-7363.
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