Ten students from around the island are heading into the new school year with scholarship money thanks to Honolulu Police Community Foundation, a nonprofit that supports police officers, their families and the community at large. HPCF awards scholarships annually, and this year’s winners were recognized July 5 at a ceremony at Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
“It is based on the holistic view of the applicant,” HPCF board president and co-founder Lee Donohue explains, adding that academic records and community service activities were considered. “When we looked at their credentials, they just stood out from the rest.”
This year’s recipients are: Stacie Ann Shibano of Kailua, a senior at University of Washington; Kenneth Hu of Honolulu, a junior at Rutgers University; Michael Sonson of Waipahu, a junior at Biola University; Zhaotong Xu of Honolulu, a sophomore at University of Hawaii at Manoa; Nathan Yang of Honolulu, a second-year student Duke University Law School; Starla Takara of Honolulu, a senior at Hawaii Pacific University; Nolan Arasato of Waianae, a sophomore at Western Oregon University; Jarrett Okita of Kaneohe, a freshman at University of Portland; Sydney Vinoya of Kaneohe, a freshman at University of Nevada at Las Vegas; and Kristyn Iwane of Kailua, a freshman at UH-Manoa.
“It is so necessary to have a strong, educated workforce,” Donohue says. “These are going to be the leaders of the future.”
Donohue, a former HPD chief who spent 40 years with HPD, co-founded HPCF in 1997. Initially, the main goal was to provide scholarships and it has since awarded $106,500 to 84 recipients pursuing trade school certificates, or associate’s, bachelor’s or post-graduate degrees. As it began to grow, the group expanded its mission to include purchasing supplies for HPD, including defibrillators for officers in the field. Just this year, the organization created a new program to provide medical alert devices to seniors and people with disabilities.
“We want to help the police department and provide for not only the safety of the community, but the officers as well,” Donohue says.
Donohue credits the community with helping HPCF thrive. HPCF is funded entirely by donations, as well as an annual fundraiser.
“And then we have people who just want to give to HPCF because they want to give back to the police department,” Donohue says.
“I always enjoy when we give out the scholarships – we get to meet the families,” he says. “Sometimes, we get to see (the recipients) come back for the second or third year – and you watch them grow … We have had some really great recipients, and that makes it all worthwhile.”
For more information, visit honolulupolicecommunityfoundation.org.