The East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai presented scholarships of $1,000 each to Waiäkea High School senior Meghan M.B.Y. Nagai and Hilo High School senior Kara Yoshiyama. The two were recognized for their excellence in academic, co-curricular and extracurricular achievements.
Nagai, who is the daughter of Kenjin Kai members Sylvia and Michael Nagai, was a valedictorian for her Waiäkea High School Class of 2019. She plans to pursue a career in marketing and advertising at the University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa’s Shidler College of Business. Her long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree in business marketing.
Nagai designed the cover art for the 2019-2020 Waiäkea High School course catalog. In school, she held leadership positions in student government, the Interact Club, Japanese Club and the Distributive Education Clubs of America. She was also a member of WHS’ varsity tennis team and earned early college credits at Hawai‘i Community College.
Yoshiyama, the daughter of Joanne and Lance Yoshiyama, will attend Pacific University in Oregon this fall, where she plans to pursue a doctor of optometry degree.
She was active in community service as a member of the Key Club, where she accumulated over 600 hours of volunteer service with the Hilo High Key Club. Yoshiyama was also active with the Hawai‘i State Student Council. She led a Department of Education legislative learning conference for student representatives from every public high school in Hawai‘i. It involved drafting a bill requiring that all public high school students accrue community service hours. The bill was introduced at the state Legislature.
Additionally, Yoshiyama is involved in the East Hawaii 4-H Federation Cloverbuds program, where she is a teen leader. In preparation for her career choice in optometry, Yoshiyama served a yearlong internship at the Ludwig Ophthalmology Centre in Hilo.
The two scholarships are awarded to eligible children and grandchildren of East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai members.
The Hawaii Island AJA Veterans Legacy Association presented a $1,000 scholarship to Kea‘au High School senior Shylynn Y. Kawamoto for her excellence in academic, co-curricular and extracurricular achievements. Joe Sugawara, a 100th Infantry Battalion veteran and board member of the Hawai‘i Island AJA Veterans Legacy Association, presented the scholarship award to Kawamoto at the Kea‘au High School senior awards assembly.
She is the daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Nakano and plans to attend the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in the fall, majoring in nursing with a specialty in pediatrics.
Kawamoto was a valedictorian of her 2019 class. At school, she was active in the CyberPatriot Club and HOSA Future Health Professional. She is also a member of the Puna Taiko Club and volunteers at Puna Hongwanji Mission and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Scholarship applicants are required to write an essay describing the significance and role AJAs who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion or Military Intelligence Service or the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, played in World War II. Kawamoto chose to write about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, in which her great-grandfather, Heiso Matsuda, served.
The Hawaii Island AJA Veterans Legacy Association scholarship is open to seniors at any Hawai‘i Island public or private school and must be used for school-related expenses at a college or university in Hawai‘i.