PYCC awards scholarships

The Pa’ia Youth & Cultural Center announces this year’s recipients of the Pa’ia Youth & Cultural Center Campbell Scholarship Fund. In existence since 2005, The PYCC Campbell Scholarship Fund is open to any active member of PYCC who is a high school senior, has a GED or is in their first year of college. Each candidate has to submit an application and be personally interviewed. This year, eight PYCC members are recipients:

* Derrin Allan Kamanaokekai Johnson was awarded $1,500. He is a 2012 graduate of King Kekaulike High School. A member of the PYCC since he was 8 years old, Johnson has been involved in each of the PYCC’s programs. His first job was at the PYCC StoneWave Skate Park. To date, his greatest academic achievement was simply being the first of his siblings to graduate from high school. He enjoys playing basketball with friends and co-workers, playing the ukulele, body boarding and skateboarding. Johnson is going to attend the University of Hawaii Maui College to pursue a degree in renewable resources or sustainable energy.

* Stephen (Stevie) Mazon was awarded $1,500. A long-term member of the PYCC, Mazon enjoys skateboarding, surfing, playing ukulele and exercising. Most of these activities have involved the PYCC. Graduating from King Kekaulike High School this year, Mazon will attend UH-MC to study woodworking and music. He intends to learn how to make acoustic instruments such as ukuleles and guitars as well as be a performer.

* Jaclyn (Kehau) Chong was awarded $1,000. A 2012 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus, Chong attended the PYCC for many years. Chong currently attends Hawaii Pacific University where she is majoring in travel industry and management. She is also interested in Hawaiian culture and dance. Another reason she wants to continue her education is because she wants to be the first one in her family to graduate from college.

* Myles Laurion was awarded $1,000. He graduated from King Kekaulike High School this year and will attend Southern Oregon University in the fall. Laurion has been a PYCC member for many years. Camp Imua is a really important part of his life. He said that “volunteering at this camp is simply a life-changing experience.” For almost six years, he participated in this program to help special-needs children. Through this camp, he made a lot of new friendships with people, including some who have disabilities. He looks forward to volunteering at this camp for years to come. Laurion wants to continue his education to enable him to get a job that he enjoys. He also wants to travel and see the world.

* Alden Mel was awarded $1,000. He graduated from King Kekaulike High School this year and will attend UH-MC. He would eventually like to attend a school in California to pursue his interests in the arts. His six-year involvement at the PYCC led to a lot of happiness in his life. He discovered his passion for skateboarding and it is now an enormous part of his life; he cannot go a day without stepping on his skateboard, and he has made a lot of lifelong friends and mentors in the process. Mel completed his senior project – a skateboard video – at the PYCC Hekili Multimedia Lab. The lab is where he discovered an interest in photography, videography and video editing.

* Brandon Kahalekai was awarded $1,000. He is currently studying at UH-MC in liberal arts. Kahalekai still goes to the PYCC to participate in the activities and assist with younger children. He said that the PYCC “helped me through life even though I became a member when it was my junior year in high school.” Kahalekai enjoys participatng in many sports, particularly football, wrestling and baseball. He wants to continue his education so that he can get a better job with a college degree. He is considering going into engineering or the culinary arts.

* Derek Kahalekai was awarded $1,000. He graduated from King Kekaulike High School this year and will attend UH-MC. He would like to become a youth pastor. Kahalekai was involved in the StoneWave Skate Park Operations life-skills program. The PYCC remains a big part of his life. The PYCC is where he learned how to be with children and how to deal with squabbles between youth. The PYCC also taught him how to manage his life and money while he was working. Kahalekai enjoys playing chess and many sports.

* Raven Stires was awarded $1,000. He graduated from the Maui Community School for Adults and presently, at 16 years old, is enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at UH-MC. He participates in the

PYCC Malama Pono Project Venture Program and enjoys going on the PYCC radio station, RadiOpio and playing chess. The main reason Stires decided to continue his education is that he needs a means to support himself. He plans to use his skills in culinary arts to support himself while he continues his education, perhaps in applied sciences.