kaimana 2024: a celebration of achievement

Courtney Takabayashi
July 02, 2024

Excitement, pride, and gratitude filled the air during the HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program luncheon at Oahu Country Club on June 9. School principals, athletic directors, and family members traveled from across the state to honor Hawaii’s top high schools and remarkable students.

A tradition of excellence
Since 2005, HMSA has sponsored the Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program in partnership with the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA). “This program is an investment in Hawaii’s future. For 19 years and counting, it’s been an honor to support some of the best and brightest graduating seniors in Hawaii, as well as select schools that work tirelessly to nurture the next generation of leaders,” said HMSA President and Chief Executive Officer Mark M. Mugiishi, M.D., F.A.C.S. “Many of our scholarship recipients continue to make meaningful contributions to our communities and we’re grateful to play a small part in their journey.”

Group photo of scholarship winners and Jen Diesman, senior VP, Government Policy and Advocacy and Dr. Mugiishi

Well-rounded students

To be eligible for a scholarship, student requirements included:

  • Graduation from a Hawaii high school in 2024 with a GPA of 2.75 or higher.
  • Participation in at least one HHSAA league-sanctioned sport.
  • Demonstration of involvement in community service throughout their high school career.

Scholarship recipients can use their $5,000 scholarships to help pay for higher education, including tuition, books, computers, and room and board.

Madison Strand of Maui, who graduated from King Kekaulike High School, is thankful for the scholarship, which will support her education at the University of Portland where she plans to major in nursing. “I feel so honored. It's just so much help, especially nowadays when school is really expensive.” Her goal is to return to Hawaii to work in health care. “I was born and raised in Maui and I’ve always wanted to help my home.”

Madison Strand (middle) with Dr. Mugiishi and Jen Diesman.

Campbell High School graduate, Rafael Firme, appreciates the scholarship as it will help him reach his academic goals. “I’m just grateful that HMSA gave me an opportunity to have less to worry about school expenses and pursue what I want to do,” he says. “I want to be a software engineer and work on projects that can help the community.”

Rafael Firme and his guest are all smiles.

Impressive school achievements
The nine Kaimana school award winners achieved the highest program scores in their league, classified by enrollment, academics, athletics, community service, healthy activities, and sportsmanship. Each school received a check for $1,500. Here are some highlights from the school winners:

Keeau High School: As winners of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF) Large School Division, Keaau High School saw their football team place second in their league, had two female BIIF judo champions, and a track champion in high jump and triple jump. Students were involved in many community activities throughout the year including tree planting, yard cleaning, health fairs, and most notably, the Cougar Country Market, which is a gathering place for their community to share food, music, and participate in outdoor activities.

Hawaii Baptist Academy: During the 2023-24 school year, the winner of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) Large School Division took home several state championships including the HHSAA boys bowling and girls soccer division 2. The Eagles were involved in various community events such as blood drives and the Ala Wai canal cleanup project.

HBA representative, Deren Oshiro and his guest, Wendy Oshiro.

Waimea High School: The Kauai Interscholastic Federation school winner claimed several championships throughout the school year. Highlights include their second division 2 state football championship, and their first HHSAA wins in state girls paddling and state girls wrestling. In addition, their students organized a two-day annual health fair, which included 44 community partners and over 6,500 volunteer hours.

Kamehameha Schools Maui: Bringing home championships in boys’ wrestling, football, and volleyball, as well as girls’ air riflery, bowling, and soccer, Kamehameha Schools Maui was the winner of the Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) Large School Division. Students participated in various community service projects, such as a Christmas Service for kupuna and collecting donations for wildfire victims.

Moanalua High School: As the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) Large School winner, Moanalua was the state champion in boys’ and girls’ judo, competitive cheerleading, and girls’ wrestling.  Moanalua students volunteered and attended their school health fair and complex school community fairs. They also organized blood drives and presentations for tobacco, drug, and suicide prevention.

Nineteen years strong
Through the Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program, HMSA and HHSAA have awarded 341 scholarships worth over $1.2 million dollars. Check out this recap of the 2024 luncheon:

For a list of 2024 Kaimana Awards & Scholarship winners and to learn more about the program, visit HMSA’s website

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