HANA - A day after they learned they had been selected as Gates Millennium Scholars, Hana High and Elementary School seniors Hau'oli Kahaleuahi and Nina Mei Thorne said they were still absorbing the news that they had received a "full ride" scholarship to attend any college or university.
"It was pretty crazy news, but it was also awesome," said Kahaleuahi, a 17-year-old Hana resident. "It allows me to go to a four-year university . . . everything. I don't have to take out any loans. I don't have to be in debt when I graduate."
Her parents are Vicky Richards and Joe-John Kahaleuahi.
Thorne, an 18-year-old Hana resident, said she was simply "trying to soak it all in."
"The possibilities are endless," she said. "I can get my master's or Ph.D. if I want to."
Her parents are Deborah and Chuck Thorne. "They're very proud of me," she said.
Thorne said she's considering a degree in international business, or perhaps going to law school. She's considering attending the University of Washington in Seattle.
Kahaleuahi said she's also thinking about attending the University of Washington, probably to get a degree in marine biology.
The third scholarship recipient from Hana High, Cheyenne Kamalei Pico, could not be reached Saturday for comment.
Thorne said it was "very amazing" that three students from such a small school in a rural town would win such a prestigious scholarship.
"It's very special," she said.