For the first time this year, the recipients of Hui Makaala scholarships got an up-close look at how their college education funds are raised. That’s because this year, Hui Makaala combined its annual fashion show luncheon and scholarship banquet into one big event, which was held July 26 in the Tapa Ballrooom of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The show featured the designs of popular designers Manuheali‘i, Allison Izu and Kini Zamora.
The fashion show was preceded by a full entertainment that featured the energetic Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko Hawaii, directed by Akemi Martin-Sensei and
Melissa Ching; a Japanese dance by Dazzman Toguchi; Okinawan songs by Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai, led by artistic director and shihan Grant “Sandaa” Murata; and Okinawan dances by students from Hooge Ryu Hana Nuuzi no Kai, directed by grandmaster Lynne Yoshiko Nakasone.
The 2015 scholarship recipients were also introduced during the program. They are:
• Alexander Abe, son of Kentaro and Amanda Abe. Alexander graduated from the Honolulu Waldorf School and is attending the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, where he is majoring in public relations and communications. He is a member of Young Okinawans of Hawaii.
• Riley Cabarloc, the daughter of Reynold and April Cabarloc, graduated from Hilo High School and is attending Hawai‘i Community College, where she is a nursing major. Her activities in the Okinawan community include participating in the Okinawan Festival and Hilo’s Haari Boat Race. She also plays koto with Soshin Kai.
• Justin Higa is the son of Gary and Mayumi Higa. The ‘Aiea High School graduate is attending UH-Mänoa, where he is majoring in natural resources management. Justin is a member of Kuba Rose Kai and Nakagusuku Sonjin Kai. He also plays taiko with Chinagu Eisa.
• Kylie Leong, daughter of Kenneth and Ann Leong, graduated from Kamehameha Schools. She is a business management major at UH-West O‘ahu. Kylie performs with Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko.
• Kelli Miyahira is the daughter of Michael and Nadine Miyahira. The Punahou School graduate is attending New York University, where she is pursuing a graduate degree in music therapy. Kelli is an active member of Young Okinawans of Hawaii and Haebaru Club.
• Ty Shimabukuro, son of Dennis and Judy Shimabukuro, graduated from Punahou School. He attends UH-Mänoa, where he is majoring in marine biology. Ty is an active member of Hui Makaala and also volunteers at the Okinawan Fesitval and the Haari Boat Race in Hilo.
• Sydney Tsukenjo is the daughter of Dayne and Melissa Tsukenjo. She graduated from Sacred Hearts Academy and is attending Central Seattle College, where she is majoring in political science and philosophy. Sydney is a member of Yonashiro Chojin Kai and plays sanshin with Ryukyu Koten Afuso-ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai and taiko.
• Tylar Umeno is the daughter of Morris and Roberta Umeno. The Mid-Pacific Institute graduate is majoring in culinary arts at Anne Arundel Community College in Baltimore, Md. She is a member of Ginowan Shijin Kai, Okinawa Kai of Washington, D.C. and plays koto with Miyashiro Soho Kai.
• Kim Yamamoto is the daughter of Tom and Lynne Yamamoto. Kim graduated from Hawaii Baptist Academy and attend the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where she is majoring in civil engineering. She is a member of Tomigusuku Sonjin Kai and participated in the Hawai‘i-Okinawa Student Exchange, both as a Hawai‘i host and as an Okinawa participant.
The event was co-chaired by Karen Shishido and Jane Lee. First lady Dawn Amano-Ige served as both a model and honorary chair of the event.
A popular aspect of the Hui Makaala fashion show is the involvement of local guest models. This year, the models included Honolulu city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro, first lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim, Hawaii United Okinawa Association president Mark Higa and his wife Hanae, architect Maurice Yamasato, and KITV newscasters Kenny Choi and Moanike‘ala Nabarro.
The Hui Makaala scholarship fund began as an effort to ease the financial burden of trying to get an education. From 1946 to 1952, Hui Makaala members held fundraising dances. In 1953, the organization changed courses and began sponsoring fundraising beauty pageants, at which a beauty queen was selected. That continued until 1970, when Hui Makaala began holding fashion show every year to raise funds to award scholarship. It is a tradition that has endured now for 46 years.