Waiakea High School senior Maya Atwal earned a $1,000 scholarship from the East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, the organization announced on Monday, June 14. Atwal, the daughter of EHHKK members Jill and Money Atwal, won the award due to her excellence in academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements. Atwal will attend the University of San Diego in the fall, with the long-term aim of obtaining a JD and pursuing a career in public-service law.
The senior class valedictorian at Waiakea High School, Maya Atwal served as senior-class vice president after also fulfilling leadership positions during all four years of high school, primarily in the school’s Class Council and Student Government Association. She was active in the National Honor Society, Debate Club and Lions Club, and became a Public Service Academy Ambassador. An athlete on the WHS Varsity Soccer and Varsity Tennis teams, Atwal received a Big Island Interscholastic Federation All Team Honorable Mention in 2020 and became BIIF Girls’ Doubles Champion in 2019.
Outside of school, this busy student filled leadership positions in the Super Stars 4-H Club, East Hawaii 4-H Federation and the Hilo Hongwanji Junior Young Buddhist Association; she additionally was a junior leader for the Hilo Hongwanji 4-H Cloverbuds.
The Kenjin Kai scholarship is not Atwal’s first academic award. She received the Hawaii Academy of Science Pacific Symposium Student Choice Award 2021, AP Scholar with Honor Award 2020, AP Seminar and Research Certificate 2020, Ricoh Sustainable Development Award and Friends of the Mauna Loa Observatory Atmospheric Science Award for 2020. A delegate to the 4-H National Congress in 2019, she was a multi-year recipient of the WHS Scholastic Athletic Achievement, Scholastic Achievement and Outstanding Service awards.
The EHHKK scholarships are given to East Hawaii public or private high school seniors who plan to attend an accredited college or university, registering as a full-time student with 12 credits or more in the Fall 2021 semester. Applicants demonstrate above average scholastic record and character, and must also be a child of an East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai member in good standing.
Application forms and instructions are available from the public and private high-school counseling offices in the eastern part of Hawai‘i island. The deadline for scholarships usually ends around mid-April, but check with these offices or the Kenjin Kai for specific annual dates by which applications must be postmarked. For more information or questions, please contact the Hiroshima Kenjin Kai Fellowship Chair of East Hawaii, Lori Nekoba, at (808) 938-6616.
On Thursday, May 6, 2021, American Savings Bank announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer Rich Wacker would leave the company to “pursue other interests.” In his place, ASB’s Board of Directors selected Executive Vice President of Operations Ann Teranishi as its incoming President/CEO, effective the very next day, Friday, May 7.
“The most rewarding achievement of my time at ASB has been working with amazing people who are as passionate about delivering great banking and making people’s dreams possible as they are about giving back and making our community stronger. I’m deeply proud of all that we’ve accomplished together,” summed up outgoing President/CEO Wacker. He added about the bank’s new appointment, “Having worked closely with Ann for many years, I am confident that under her leadership, ASB will remain a leading financial institution for many years to come.”
Teranishi welcomed her new position with humility and grace. “It is my true honor and privilege to be selected to lead the incredible team at American Savings Bank,” she said. “When I joined ASB nearly 14 years ago,” she reflected, “I knew there was something special about this company — the way we genuinely care about our customers, how we work together and our willingness to roll up our sleeves to support our community.”
The ASB Board of Directors considered a number of candidates as part of its succession-selection process. “It became apparent that Ann was a natural choice, given her outstanding record of accomplishments,” said ASB Board of Directors Chair Connie Lau. “Ann has a gift for building high-performing teams and has the leadership qualities and operational skills that will enable her to lead ASB’s continued growth. She is a strong, collaborative leader with deep banking industry knowledge and a long track record of success at ASB.”
As Executive Vice President of Operations, Teranishi had been in charge of delivering operational improvements to the benefit of the bank’s overall customer experience. Teranishi made herself indispensable in transitioning ASB from traditional, brick-and-mortar, “branch-centric” operations to the online and other self-service options currently so popular with customers during the pandemic. Among Teranishi’s many management accomplishments, she helped to develop an enterprise-wide compliance program, leading the retail credit team to best-in-class fulfillment times for consumer loans, and heading strategic initiatives to improve the bank’s overall customer service. The local bank, as a result, enjoys a positive reputation in the community. “I look forward to building on that success,” she said of her future direction, thanking Wacker for his contributions to the company and the state.
Teranishi graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Emerging COO program. Additionally, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Claremont McKenna College, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law.