Horatio Alger Award To Waimanalo’s Koa

The price of higher education is a daunting topic on a national level. Nearly 70 percent of college graduates will walk away with a degree, as well as an average debt load of $25,000.

But Waimanalo’s Emma N. Koa, a senior at Kamehameha Schools, is taking proactive steps to avoid that common theme. After reading through a list of scholarship options, she took a chance, applied and was awarded a $5,000 Horatio Alger State Scholarship for her commitment to education, dedication to community service and strength of character in the face of adversity.

“I was seriously in shock. It was a big surprise because it is a big scholarship and a lot of people applied for it,” she said. “I feel really blessed because since I was a little kid I wanted to be a teacher of Hawaiian language and Hawaiian studies, so to be able to live these dreams is really exciting.”

The Horatio Alger State Scholarship was established in 1984, distributing an estimated total financial commitment of $90 million since its inception. Koa, who will be attending UH-Manoa in the fall, has plans to major in secondary education with a focus in Hawaiian language or Hawaiian studies.

A perfect candidate for Horatio Alger mission, Koa was selected because she has overcome more family difficulties than typical students experience and has surfaced with extraordinary strengths.