The Ka’u Chamber of Commerce is pleased to help Ka’u students and adults through our annual scholarship program. The Ken Wicks Ka’u Chamber of Commerce Scholarship has expanded to include not only high school seniors, but also adults seeking to re-enter the educational system. Applicants are asked to write an essay about how their educational experience will benefit Ka’u. Preference will be given to those who intend to remain in or return to Ka’u and live there. Scholarship money can be used for all college and vocational training and will range from $250-$1,000. Need will also be considered. Scholarship renewal is also possible and encouraged.

We are now accepting applications.

High school students, please click here to download the application as a Microsoft Word document.

Returning applicants, college students, and adults continuing their education, please click here to download the application as a Microsoft Word document.

The deadline is May 1, 2017.

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 Ka’u?”

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.


Past recipients: