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Scholarship at UH-MC pays tribute to single parent

Amanda Gannon is shown with her son, Andrew. The first recipient of a scholarship in Amanda’s honor is nursing student Kathryn Moreno. — Photo courtesy of Gannon family

Amanda Gannon, a single Maui parent who died in a car accident at 38 years old, never got the chance to earn a college degree but a scholarship in her name is already assisting other single parents.

Amanda’s parents Virginia and Robert (Bunky) and her son Andrew, a student at UH-MC, established the Amanda Leigh Wailana Gannon Memorial Endowed Scholarship at UH Maui College in her memory, “to make sure she’s always remembered in our heart, but also remembered by others forever,” says Virginia. “She was a single parent; we knew how difficult it had been for her to keep on working, with a child, and to make ends meet. She’d always struggled, so we thought there’s no better way than to create a scholarship for a single parent. To get them on their feet with the education they need.”

The first recipient of Amanda’s scholarship is nursing student Kathryn Moreno.

“I had to quit my full-time job to attend school full time,” says Kathryn, “as the nursing program is very demanding. I’m living off my savings and scholarships.

“Not only will this assistance help me financially, but it allows me more time for my studies and my daughter.”

Kathryn says it’s a challenge to juggle a full-time job with single-parenting, full-time studies and making ends meet. “Thank you so much to the Gannon family,” she says. “This will help me tremendously.”

Virginia hopes Kathryn and future recipients of the scholarship will also receive a message from Amanda’s life. “She just kept on trying,” says Virginia. “You have to. Things get really, really tough, and you can’t just stop. Focus on that, set up a good support system, and do the best you can.”

The Amanda Leigh Wailana Gannon Memorial Endowed Scholarship at University of Hawaii Maui College provides at least one gift annually of $3,000. Applicants can be full time or part time students, must hold 2.5 GPA or higher, must be a single parent and be a graduate of a public high school in Maui County, including charter schools. 

The award applies to any field of study. The student should demonstrate financial need but it does not depend on the FAFSA’s definition of financial need. To more information about this scholarship and others, visit maui.hawaii.edu/scholarships.

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