Honoring Student Citizenship

Anyone who’s ever harbored a doubt about the future of Hawaii need not worry – not after being exposed to the exceptional young people who recently received Citizenship Awards from the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association.

Forty-two of the finest representatives from each of the state’s public schools were feted at an April 12 luncheon sponsored by the HLTA, Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Department of Education. These seniors were honored not only for their scholastic achievements, but for their contributions to making Hawaii a better place through civic service and for best exemplifying the model public high school graduate. Each student received a $1,000 scholarship, donated by HLTA members and other sponsors.

Clarisse Lee of McKinley with Mufi Hannemann and Dave Kennedy

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Clarisse Lee of McKinley with Mufi Hannemann and Dave Kennedy, Star- Advertiser VP of marketing

While every student was outstanding, I’ve selected at random one from each island as representative of the seniors from across the state.

From Hawaii’s Honokaa High School comes Shaye Lynn Baldos. She’s a mentor for freshmen and secretary of her senior class. She is a member of the Future Farmer’s of America Club, Leadership Training Program and Robotics Club. Through her volunteer work with the American Cancer Society, she had the opportunity to attend the High Plains Summit in Dallas and gained the skills she needed to serve as chair for the community’s Rally for Life. Shaye Lynn plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

Kimberly Aguilar hails from Waimea High School on Kaua’i. Volunteerism is a way of life for Kimberly. Through her canoe paddling club, JROTC and church youth group, she participates in countless service projects in and outside of her community. One project took Kimberly all the way to Thailand to teach English. She is the JROTC battalion executive officer, overseeing a staff of five and maintaining a battalion of 128. She plans to attend Abilene Christian University.

Lanai High School’s honoree is Ayla Aki. Ayla is an inspiration to others. Whether it’s in the classroom or in sports, she is successful at everything she does. Her involvement in community service includes volunteering for the Dating Violence Club, tutoring children and aiding the elderly. Ayla will be a welcome addition to the University of Hawaii at Manoa student body.

Maui High School’s proud representative is Keone Kapisi. His accomplishments include being selected for a study abroad program in Costa Rica, collecting shoes for young athletes in Samoa for his Eagle Scout project, and making the Maui Interscholastic League all-star football team as a senior, his first year on the gridiron. Not enough? Keone plays the piano in the Keiki Maestro Program. He’ll be attending Brigham Young University-Provo.

Molokai High School’s own is Charisse Manley.

Charisse lives by the motto, “Knowledge fosters change.” She is vigilant about improving parental involvement through the “Together is Better” campaign she created. She has organized experiences and events to educate and motivate parents. Her beliefs have led her to volunteer for various causes on Molokai. She will attend Azusa Pacific University.

Clarisse Lee hails from Oahu’s McKinley High School. This young humanitarian was influenced by Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher and the inspiration for her effort to raise money to help children and orphans in Africa. Her donation is being used to help the neediest among them. She also volunteers at Kuakini Health System when not serving as first vice president of the school’s executive council. She will attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t commend the parents, principals, teachers, counselors, and coaches who helped shape these young lives and extend our gratitude to the members of HLTA and business community who rewarded each student with a scholarship. (For photos of the students and a list of sponsors, see the April 12 edition of MidWeek‘s sister publication, Honolulu Star-Advertiser.)

The recipients of the Citizenship Awards symbolize the very best of Hawaii and we’re delighted to have this opportunity to salute them for their achievements and thank them for their service.

(More photos on page 48-49.)