Great night in the Spotlight

Monday evening Alexander & Baldwin hosted the 15th annual Athlete Recognition Reception for teens featured this year in the Sports Spotlight on our pages.

Maui Interscholastic League athletes are chosen weekly during the school year for recognition by A&B for not only their achievements in sports, but also because they have proven themselves as good students and citizens.

In the 15 years of the program, A&B Foundation has contributed over $170,000 to MIL schools. The schools are given $200 each time one of their students is chosen for the Spotlight.

We are impressed every year when these athletes go up on stage at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center to be honored. They are fine examples of what hard work, sportsmanship and dedication can achieve.

At each of these receptions, an alumnus of an MIL school is asked to speak about his or her post-high school life. Monday night, Kaimi Rocha spoke to the assembly. Kaimi is a 2008 graduate of Seabury Hall and a 2012 graduate of Whitworth University.

She played volleyball at Seabury and continued at Whitworth. In 2010, she was an Honorable Mention All-American and, in her senior year, she was a Division III Second Team All-American.

Kaimi showed Monday night she is an All-American person, too. She spoke with pride of seeing her picture in the sports pages of The Maui News – mostly, though, because her family could clip the pictures and put them on their refrigerators with magnets.

She explained that at a Division III college like Whitworth she was playing volleyball not for a scholarship, but because of love of the game. She was excited to be playing for the joy it gave team fans and her friends.

Kaimi has graduated now and is a private caregiver. The program for the reception said Kaimi continues in athletics by playing and coaching for Maui’s Hawaiian Style Volleyball Team.

Aspiring teen athletes have a great role model in Kaimi Rocha. She embodies everything the Sports Spotlight was designed to promote and celebrate.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.