2016 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2016 Scholarship
Aug 182017

Recipients for 2016:

  • Jay-R Abalos
  • Tyler Amaral
  • Lexis L. Andrade
  • Tiani L. Castaneda-Naboa
  • Monica Lynn Pascual Cavarrubio
  • Ty Alfred De Sa
  • Charlotte Faye Esquida
  • Sheilla Mae Felipe
  • Annie Mae Flores
  • Leaokalani Hashimoto
  • Kaweni Christopher Ibarra
  • Kamrie Koi
  • Rochelle Koi
  • Crystal McIntosh
  • April Joy D. Miguel
  • Tiare-Lee Shibuya
  • Jennifer Flores Tabios

The winner for our essay contest: “How will your education benefit the District of Kau?”

Leaokalani Hashimoto

Great Teachers Make Great Leaders

Great teachers are the unsung heroes of the world. They play an important and difficult role in our society. Many of us can recall a teacher who has influenced the course of our life, however; quality teachers are becoming harder to find and keep here in Hawaii. I want to become an elementary school teacher so I can help fill the need for qualified teachers and inspire the youth of Kau.

The ancient African proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child” but what has happened to our “village”? According to Hawaii News Now, DOE officials expect as many as 1,600 vacancies throughout the state next school year. Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, shared that “Hawaii has the highest turnover rates in the nation, and this is more so for people that come from the mainland.” Corey added that recruiting teachers from the mainland is an ongoing cycle. That is the reason why I am studying to become a Hawaii elementary school teacher.

Teachers who are recruited from the mainland are often placed in rural schools, like Naalehu Elementary and Kau High School. New teachers are often surprised by Kau’s unique, rural lifestyle as well as the state’s high cost of living. I was raised in Kau and attended Naalehu Elementary school and graduated from Kau High. As a native, I can relate to and understand the racial and cultural background of our youth. I live in Waiohinu and hope to teach at Naalehu Elementary, one of Hawaii’s public schools that needs qualified teachers. I want to use the knowledge I have acquired to inspire students of Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School and help them identify their strengths and reach their full potential. I want to create a great classroom for students to learn, feel successful, and achieve.

I am grateful to say that I am the product of great teachers, including my parents who successfully fulfilled their role as my first teacher. I am passionate about education because of the time and energy these wonderful teachers invested in me. They helped me acquire the skills, knowledge, and expertise needed for success in college, career, and life. Great teachers do not receive a high salary or get praised daily for their contribution, however, they enjoy what they do and are passionate about education. Great teachers are sustained daily by the outstanding opportunity to change a student’s life. I hope to be as great as the teachers who have inspired me.

The Ken Wicks Kau Chamber of Commerce Scholarship will help me achieve my educational goals with minimal impact on my family. My academic studies are a major part of my professional development, but like many things, it comes with a price. I am a mother and my family is my number one priority. Balancing academic with family life is always a challenge. This scholarship will alleviate some of the financial burden that my ongoing studies have placed on my family, allowing me to concentrate on my education.


2015 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2015 Scholarship
Feb 062017

Recipients for 2015:

  • Layla Abellera
  • Tyler Amaral
  • Evan Enriques
  • Annie Mae Flores
  • Kaweni Ibarra
  • Gregory K. Javar Jr.
  • Nysa M. Kaniho
  • Kamrie Koi
  • Jennifer Kau’i Losalio
  • Crystal McIntosh
  • Denisha Navarro
  • Siena Okimoto
  • Tiare-Lee Shibuya
  • Jennifer Flores Tabios
  • Jenisha Young

The winner for our essay contest: “How will your education benefit the District of Kau?”

Gregory K. Javar Jr.

Local Lands in Local Hands

“Aole TMT! Aole TMT!” These are the chants of Native Hawaiians speaking from their hearts to stop production on our sacred Mauna Kea. The preservation of our Hawaiian lands plays such an important role in the Hawaiian culture, while advancing technology plays an important role in the science world. There seems to be no peaceful solution to these rising conflicts. Why can’t the native people and the scientists find peace? Different mindsets. In the Hawaiian culture, the people know the significance in the Mauna and see it as a sacred and holy place. While on the scientific end the Mauna is just as equally significant, only for a different reason, scientific discovery. The mountain reveals that there are two different sides, the cultural and the scientific. Although there are many scientists who try to preserve the Hawaiian culture, I believe there is not enough. This is part of the reason why I am pursuing my goal in becoming a civil engineer.

Pursuing my engineering career would not only benefit the technological world, it would also benefit my Hawaiian culture. My future plan is to move back to Ka’u and work as an engineer on the Big Island. If I am back on the big island I’d be able to be a bridge or a mediator between conflicting sides. I would be able to tailor the projects so that they would be advanced in a modern way without interfering with Hawaiian culture. I feel like that is very important in this day and age because of the rapid growth of industry and modernization. With the current issue of Mauna Kea going on, I feel like Hawaiian engineers should work on ways to prevent future conflicts. As a native of Ka’u I feel like it is my Kuleana to “keep country, country” and at the same time keep us intact with the modern world.

Growing up in Ka’u, kids learn many values that many other kids do not have the privilege to learn. I’ve been to a lot of places and have seen the lifestyle and can honestly say that Ka’u is one of a kind. Our keiki learn respect, values, and learn that if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you. That’s what’s special about our district, we all are one with our land, and as locals we do what we can to protect it. As a future engineer, I see this as a great opportunity to make a long lasting impression. For our people, for Ka’u.


2014 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2014 Scholarship
Feb 062017

Recipients for 2014:

  • Tyler Amaral
  • Kayla Andrade
  • Chazlyn Fuerte Castaneda
  • Benjamin Houghton
  • Kamrie Koi
  • Anjulie Larson
  • Jennifer Kau’i Losalio
  • Maria Miranda
  • Marley Strand-Nicolaisen
  • Siena Okimoto
  • Tiare-Lee Shibuya

The winner for our essay contest: “How will your education benefit the District of Kau?”

Tiare-Lee Shibuya

Smile in The Face of Fear

I could smell hand sanitizer and a minced smell of coffee. The air was very still with a musty fringe. This was definitely in a hospital and I was in the waiting room. As I look around I see many faces of despair, sorrow, and wariness. I sit patiently awaiting the news of my grandfather with a serious concerned face. I have contemplated over and over in my mind of what the different scenarios could be, but I didn’t see this one coming. My grandfather Clarence Abraham Andrade has just been diagnosed with lung cancer said to be the size of an orange. I was completely speechless and my tear ducts filled.

Cautiously, we make sure to smile and show no concern of death in our faces as I greet my grandfather in the hospital bed. My family and I sat listening to his minimal options he had and watch as he decides what he wants to do. He decides that life is not over for him yet and he wants to fight this cancer away. So in a span of two years, he fought his hardest with all his might and never complained of any pain. We all right there standing next to him every step of the way. We would take him to his radiation chemo therapy and he would be the guy making jokes about the chemo not affecting his hair because he was already bald. This is the exact moment where I knew exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it and where I wanted to do it.

Consequently, my goal was to always be a Registered Nurse and graduate with my BSN degree. Now, I can say I want to be an Oncology RN and eventually expand the Ka’u Hospital branch to have its own oncology department. Just take a second and think of all the possibilities and the many lives that can be saved. According to the Cancer Journal for Clinicians in 2014 there have been 1,340,400 deaths from cancer this year and we are only in April. I could help so many families in the district I love called Ka’u. It would be the only way I feel accomplished by having and supporting the district’s needs health wise.

Similarly, I would be able to relate to the patients on a deeper level because I have been there. I have not personally experienced cancer but I have been a family member to experience it four times. My grandfather had lung cancer and his wife had a tumor in her breast. My other grandparents my grandfather had kidney cancer and my grandmother had colon cancer. I know that the family would want the best available help and I would be right there by their side coaching them on what to expect but also keeping that hope alive because a cancer patient wants their family and to be loved during this tragic time.

Finally, I would like to be a registered nurse and help my community have the strongest oncology system it could have. There are many lives to be saved and I feel that I was set here to help cancer patients. I will provide the best service and a caring support system. I would like to bring smiles in the face of fear for all those people. It would be such an honor to devote myself to my community and to keep everyone healthy.


2013 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2013 Scholarship
Dec 202013

Recipients for 2013:

  • Tyler Amaral
  • Kayla Andrade
  • Leah Velasco Cariaga
  • Donald Garo Jr.
  • Amber Leigh V. Hondonero
  • Benjamin Houghton
  • Gregory Kirk Javar Jr.
  • Marley Strand-Nicolaisen
  • Tiana Pascubillo
  • Louise Vivien B. Santos

The winner for our essay contest: “How will your education benefit the District of Kau?”

Tyler Amaral

A World Without Computers? Not In My Community!

Imagine a world where there are no computers, television, smart-phones, or anything electrical. Think about it, there would be no way to do the things people love to do, there would be no email, no YouTube, nothing to do with the Internet. How would people react? Thankfully, there are electronic devices, for now. But, what happens when they break? Who will be able to fix them? This is where my plan comes in. My plan will definitely help the town of Kau, by going to college to study computer and fix computers. With this information, I would love to teach people in my community how to use computers successfully and hopefully they will learn to love using computers. I would also like to offer a free or really cheap computer workshop so I can fix computers for everyone. I know that some may not be able to fix their computers because most of the stores charge a very high price. Hopefully this business will also make money as well.

The reason why I chose computers as a passion is because a lot of things are becoming computerized and if you don’t know how to use computers, then it will be very difficult to find a job. Another thing is that computers can be used for a variety of different purposes from doing research to writing a report to watching a movie. Keeping in touch with people all over the world using email and “skype.”

Since I like computers a lot, I decided to focus on that as a senior project. For my senior project, I needed to spend a minimum of 40 hours on something, and I figured that I could spend that much time fixing computers. So, after that I decided that, I had to figure out a good project so I would get approved. After thinking, I saw that a lot of people did not own computers in my community, so I decided that I would donate computers to the needy families of Kau. As of February 25, 2013, I was able to donate five computers, free of cost, to families that need them. These families vary in ethnicity, age, and yet, they all still need computers, because computers are universal. I donated a tower to the local youth group, and four complete systems (tower, monitor, cables, keyboard, mice) to four local families in Hawaii. One of those families is living in a bus. Another family is living with a grandmother in a foster home situation.

Other than that, I also plan to help set up weekly programs to help teach people about computers. I would generally like to teach a class of intermediate/high school age students and the senior citizens. I chose those two groups because the students are the right age to learn and retain information regarding computers. I chose the elderly because they might like to use their computers to keep in touch with their families via email and videoconferencing. I would like to teach the intermediate/high school age students basic computer skills such as maintenance, fixing, and maybe even simple web design. I would like to teach the elderly basic things such as running programs, email, and maybe even basic computer maintenance.

I will also continue to donate regularly to the needy families of Hawaii. I will also love to work at the local elementary or high school as a computer technician, which I believe I am able to handle since I have completed my senior project.


2012 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2012 Scholarship
Jul 272013

In 2012, the scholarship program was revamped to focus more on helping all potential entrepreneurs that applied, also expanding to include adults returning to school. The essay question was changed to: How will your education benefit the District of Kau?

Recipients for 2012:

  • Layla Abellera
  • Kayla Andrade
  • Melani Bautista
  • Kasey Camba
  • Annie Mae Flores
  • Johngilbert Gorali
  • Jadelyn Kekoa
  • Rochelle Koi
  • Kiana Pascubillo
  • Tiare-Lee Shibuya
  • Mahealani Taganas
  • Tyler Navarro-Villa

The winners for our essay contest: “How will your education benefit the District of Kau?”

1st place:  Kayla Andrade

Taking Care of Business

Our world is changing, advancing, becoming more in sync with technology and the most beneficial thing to do is to change with it. Over the years, Ka’u has gone through many changes and it seems as if our community has adapted to it, but it’s important to use these changes to our advantage. Even though Ka’u is very secluded, it’s sometimes hard for families to make ends meet because of such a demanding economy. I believe that supporting local businesses plays an immense role in our society that fuels the wellbeing of common families that survive off their family owned businesses. These local businesses that are passed down to each generation help perpetuate the different aspects of culture, language, and history in order to attain sustainability if and when the barge stops sailing to Hawaii. Without our state’s main export system, only those who are culturally connected and aware of their handy resources will survive.

Opening new businesses such as hotels is very controversial here in Ka’u because it is one of the few places that hasn’t been influenced by big business and is known to be very rural. I am well aware of the push for preserving Ka’u’s natural beauty and cultural sites that hold value and history, but tourists will be coming in and out of Ka’u to experience its beauty whether we like it or not. Therefore, I want to be a type of facilitator to these newcomers and teach them to be culturally sensitive. If these people who come here are willing to learn about the culture and the history, then it’s only sensible to teach them correctly. This approach serves as a type of preservation as they carry on what they have learned and also share it with others. At the same time, many jobs will be available for the people of Ka’u as new businesses open.

Though I am not exact on what I want to pursue, I believe that going into business would aide me in trying to improve our society. The business field is such a versatile and relatable academy because all types of occupations somehow involve business. Living in this ever advancing era, we need to play to their strengths instead of fighting the system. For example, I know many successful local businesses that not only benefit themselves, but also their own culture that they practice on a daily basis.

Being from such a small town, perseverance is key because it is easy to just settle with what you’ve got when there are so much more opportunities available. If! am fortunate enough to get this scholarship, I will invest it toward a Degree in Business Management at University of Hawaii at Manoa whose business program is ranked in the top 25. Eventually, I would like to return to Ka’u and use my knowledge to help start up other businesses and encourage existing local businesses in our community. I am so blessed to have been raised in Ka’u’s close knit community. When we develop a well-oiled system that suffices everyone, there won’t be any worry about making it in this world. Then we will be able to focus on the more comforting aspects of being a community. The initial goal is to change with the world, but hold on to our roots and maintain a stable foundation.


2nd place: Annie Mae Flores

“Ka’u? Where’s that!?” I remember hearing those words when I went to a conference meeting in Oahu. When others asked me where I was from, I told them that I was from Ka’u. It was surprising to hear that they didnt know where Ka’u was, or that it was even located on Hawaii. Not everyone is familiar with the towns located here because of how small the place is. Ka’u doesn’t have much when it comes to things such as shops, marts, etc. Jobs are scarce and businesses keep closing down because customers are scarce. The closest Wal-Mart that there is seventy miles away forcing people to drive in and out of town to get groceries and such.

I have always wanted to give back to my community and help out with things that we are lacking like, for example, more jobs. I want to help my community get more local businesses running so that people will get the chance to work for their own money and also so that people won’t have to deal with driving back and forth just to get food to feed their families. Not only is the drive a grueling task, but because of the constant change of gas prices, traveling so far by car takes a toll on the wallet.

Another thing that I would also like to help my community with is to make programs for young adults to keep busy and be able to go to an afterschool program. Schools here have after school programs but only for younger kids. Teens have the option to join an extracurricular activity like sports. But not everyone is an athlete or is good in sports. Besides athletics, there isn’t really anything else to keep young adults occupied which leads them to doing things they shouldn’t be doing like drugs or alcohol. If kids were to stay busy, these things wouldn’t be as big of a problem. A year ago, I joined a program called the Summer Youth Program that enabled young adults to work after

Although it was only for three short months, the students enjoyed working and getting their own money and stayed of the trouble. In the future, I hope to set up a program like that; a program that will give teens the chance to make something of their selves and to learn how to be mature, young individuals. I know it’ll be difficult, but for the sake of the future generation of Ka’u, I am willing to do all that I can to achieve this dream.

To make a difference, you need to first start with a good education. I hope that I will be granted the Ka’u Chamber of Commerce Ken Wicks Memorial Scholarship to make that difference.


2011 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2011 Scholarship
Jul 272013

Keisha Harper was selected as the recipient for the 2011 Ken Wicks Kau Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. Her essay is titled:

New Ways To A Better Environment

The environment is bad. It’s the unusual amounts of natural disasters that have recently been occurring. It’s the thinning of the ozone. It’s the overuse of fossil fuels. It’s the obscene trash island that has formed. It’s everything and it’s everywhere. Our natural resources have been used up, and going “green” is a little more expensive for small communities, such as Kau. What the environment needs is dedicated scientists and engineers.

There are many scientists and engineers already out there. But there could never be too many, just like a cat can never take too many naps in a day. New scientists and engineers bring fresh minds, new ideas, stronger support, and more heart. I want to be part of those engineers who are dedicated to ending this ongoing battle with pollution and natural disasters.

Science has potential. After all of the inventions and all of the discoveries, after everything science has done for us, it still only has potential. I say this because the capabilities of science are endless. Scientists work day in and day out trying to discover new compounds and trying to figure out a way to mend what’s been broken. Yet, they never stop. The learning never stops, just as the trying never stops.

These are the people who can create eco-friendly and cost-friendly products. These are the people who can figure out a way to fix the ozone and limit the use of CO2. These are the people we need. However, once they figure out what can be done, they need the people who can make it happen. Engineers are more than designers, they are creators. When the scientists come up with an idea, there are engineers right there to start designing that idea. This type of teamwork is necessary when discovering a new way to do something, such as restore the ozone layer. Scientists and engineers go hand in hand. If we want to help the Earth, we start there.

That’s me. That’s what I want to do. I want to be a part of the team that creates new ways to better the environment. That’s what I am going to college for.

Helping better the environment is a great thing for any community, whether it be here in Hawaii or in the coast of Italy. If we could discover a cheap alternative to gasoline, then gas prices go down and the CO2 levels emitted from cars go down as well. If we discover how to discard of all the waste humans produce without tossing it in the ocean, then we would have much less trash washing up on the shores at South Point. There are so many solutions that are just waiting to be discovered to help save and protect the environment.

There are many other ways to help the community of Kau. I believe the environment is the best place to start, especially since that’s what I want to go to college for. We have taken so much from our aina, now it’s time for us to give back.


2010 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2010 Scholarship
Jul 272013

Alesha Ulu Makuakane and Katelyn Cadeauz Mitchell were selected as the recipients for the 2010 Ken Wicks Ka’u Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. Their essays are posted below:

Ulu Makuakane

Focus on Health & Nutrition for Kau

Education is a door to opportunities that can supply a future full of success. It can provide knowledge to pursue career aspirations and also provide experience to share throughout society and the community. By receiving a college education, I believe that I cannot only achieve my career goals, but more importantly, invest in the future of my community.

My family and I have lived in Kau for many generations. My ancestors were said to be reigning chiefs in this district before Kamehameha. As a Native of this land, I take it upon myself to reach out and connect with the people of Kau and serve the community just as my kupuna did before me. I have faith that I will be able to do this with a college education. Attending college has always been one of my main personal goals. I would like to major in health and human nutrition and someday become a certified dietician. My interest in nutrition was influenced by my own acts of being cautious about what I ate, exercising daily and reading labels so I could have a healthier lifestyle. By maintaining a balanced diet I have never felt more energized and confident in how I look inside and out, and this is what I want for the people of my district.

One of the reasons why I admire Kau is its undeveloped and untouched land. Here in Kau there are no fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King, or Jack in the Box. These fast food chains contain foods that are high in calories and fat which could cause people to be unhealthy and receive the risk of becoming obese. Since the presence of these kinds of food isn’t available all the time in Kau, it helps families cook homemade meals, which helps with practicing good nutrition. By becoming a dietician I will use my skills and knowledge to inform the people of this district how to use and eat the right food for a balanced diet. I would like to counsel them in the proper way to read labels, getting their daily caloric intake and getting the correct amount of foods from each food group. I want to advertise healthy nutrition because obesity has become a major health issue for all ages due to the intake of certain foods and lack of exercise.

By providing lessons on nutrition I could help Kau make healthier choices and take steps into a healthier future and become an improved neighborhood. Practicing good nutrition can ensure a longer, healthier and happier living and if I educate them, they will be able to enjoy life to its fullest.

I believe that I can impact this community and make a difference because of my education and my connection with the people of this district. My family ties here have made this community a part of me and who I am, and if I can help the lives here I can become a productive citizen of my community, society and country.

Katelyn Mitchell

Teach Teens the Value of Education

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to become a teacher. I never wanted to be an astronaut or a policewoman, just a teacher. Since I was a first grader sitting in my class, I’ve dreamed of teaching a group of students like my teacher taught me. I’m still interested in teaching and want to become an elementary school teacher, and I want to do it here in Kau.

I moved to Hawaii when I was six and entered Naalehu Elementary and Intermediate School as a first grader. Since then, I have attended Naalehu Elementary School, Konawaena Middle School, and Konawaena High School.

After I graduate from college, I plan on returning to Kau and teaching at Naalehu School. I had a wonderful experience there and I hope that I can have the positive effect on the students that my teachers once had on me. I hope to teach in a first or second grade classroom.

I also have a passion for leadership and am interested in becoming a principal as well. Working with the community and the families of students is rewarding because you can really strengthen ties between the school and the community. As a student leader, I have learned that a school with a strong community behind it is capable of anything.

Having grown up in Kau, I know how important education is to our youth. Many students in our district do not feel the need to finish high school and graduate, each for their own reason. I want to work on changing this attitude and get the teenagers to realize how valuable an education is.

By inspiring students at a young age to enjoy school, I think I can have a significant impact on their decisions about staying in school and graduation. While school is a learning environment, I believe that making it as fun as possible is important. I think that if students are not interested in what they are learning about, they will not try to do the best of their ability.

With the current economy and the importance of education, students need now more than ever a reason to be excited for school. I believe that the public school system in Hawaii does not put a strong enough emphasis on art, music and sports. I am going to be graduating soon and having been in the public school system my entire life. I think that I have not been exposed to enough art, music and sports. These subjects not only teach students lessons that they are not exposed to in their core classes, but also create a fun and healthy environment in school.


2007 Scholarship

 Scholarship  Comments Off on 2007 Scholarship
Jul 272013

The Ka’u Chamber of Commerce began their scholarship program in 2007 as an essay contest. Students were asked what they envisioned as their role in the future of Kau. Megan R.M. Lamson was selected as the very first recipient. Her essay is titled:

Marine Conservancy: The time is ripe to protect Kau’s precious ocean resources

I am working on my Masters Degree in Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. For my thesis, I plan to conduct a one-year research project to characterize the local fish population at Honuapo Bay in Kau, to confirm that the area is an essential marine habitat that merits legal protection. I will link the world of marine resource management and my own research with community outreach and public education. Over the next several years, I hope to organize and implement a marine science curriculum for the students of Naalehu Elementary and Kau High School. This program would focus on the natural history of Hawaii Island, using hands-on science projects and field trips as the main teaching tools.

On a short-term basis, I want to share my love and enthusiasm for our ocean and its inhabitants with local youth so we can form an alliance that fosters conservation efforts in Kau. I plan to collaborate with other Kau residents and community groups to develop a multifaceted community-based marine management plan specific to our area-blending traditional ecology knowledge with recent scientific breakthroughs. My long-term goal is to continue my research emphasis along Kau’s coastline and to promote marine conservation here as a career. I will persevere with this objective until all of Kau’s myriad natural resources are adequately protected.

Here in Kau, we are blessed with one of the largest and most pristine coastlines in all the Hawaiian Islands. I hope to inspire the next generation to appreciate their natural surroundings and to acquire a mind-set of sustainability and conservation that they can later pass on to their children. We cannot force our rules upon the ocean, but we can use our best resources (from old kapuna wisdom to cutting-edge scientific research) to remedy the pervious harm incurred, and to minimize our ecological footprints into the future. Please help me lead Kau towards this purpose.