2015 Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program

Front-page headlines on financial woes and plummeting test scores often cast a negative light on education in Hawaii. It’s refreshing—for at least one day—to see all that’s right with our islands’ schools and students. 

This past Saturday at the Hawaii Convention Center, 15 extraordinary high school student-athletes and nine schools from across the state were honored during the HMSA Kaimana Awards and Scholarship Program luncheon. 

The schools and students were recognized for excellence in academics, athletics, community service, healthy activities, and sportsmanship.  

This year was a special one. It marked the 10th anniversary of the program, which is co-sponsored by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA). In the last decade HMSA has awarded more than 200 scholarships and has contributed nearly three-quarters of a million dollars to the program.  

It’s been money well invested. This video shows the great things that some of the past recipients are up to.

This year’s student honorees, hailing from five different islands, were as stellar as ever. Starting a learning center from scratch, meeting with President Obama, and protecting others from the dangers of concussions, drugs and bullying — it was all in the average day of these high schools students.  

They juggled a loaded schedule of Advanced Placement classes, pushed their physical limits on the playing field, and displayed compassion beyond their years through countless hours of volunteer work. A few of them accomplished all of this despite some tough, personal obstacles.  

Scholarships worth $5,000 each will help them as they head to college and study in such diverse fields as business, education, engineering, and medicine. You can see the complete list of winners and read more about their amazing accomplishments here

So the next time we start griping about the younger generation (which older generations naturally do), let’s remember our Kaimana Awards recipients. These selfless, ambitious, and supremely talented young adults make me look back at my meager high school years with loads of regret and guilt that I didn’t do more. And it also makes me hugely optimistic knowing our future will be one day be shaped by these bright, inspirational leaders.