From L-R: Mililani High School Principal Fred Murphy, NHCSL scholarship recipient Isis Usborne, Sen. Michelle Kidani and Dane Wicker, representing the office of Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz
A Mililani High School graduate is one of just eleven students from across the U.S. selected to receive a college scholarship award from the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL).
Isis Usborne, a valedictorian from the MHS Class of 2014, will use the $3,000 grant to help with tuition and expenses as she enrolls at UH Manoa for the fall semester. The John S. Martinez Closing the Achievement Gap Scholarship was created in memory of the late Connecticut State Representative and former NHCSL President John S. Martinez to recognize the values most important to him – leadership, innovation, compassion and public service.
Applications for the award are accepted from high school seniors of Hispanic ethnicity who attend schools in legislative districts represented by state lawmakers who are also of Hispanic descent. Mililani High School is located in Senate District 18, represented by Senator Michelle Kidani who is of Puerto Rican descent. The school also serves students and families in the adjacent District 22, represented by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, also of Puerto Rican descent. Both Senators are active members of the National Hispanic Caucus.
“Mililani is a diverse community where we celebrate and share each other’s heritage,” Senator Kidani said. “I encourage Hispanic students in my district to apply for this prestigious award each year, and we are so pleased to congratulate Isis for her outstanding accomplishments that easily qualified her for the Martinez scholarship.”
Isis has displayed admirable leadership, academic excellence and a passionate commitment to community. She was a Valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.
In her community, Isis has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. “Students like Isis who are high achievers always have a terrific support team behind them,” Senator Kidani added. “We are grateful to her dedicated teachers and mentors at Mililani High School and to her family and friends who have been with her through the last four years.”
Sen. Kidani last week presented the scholarship check to Isis. She offered the following remarks during the check presentation:
Posted by Hawaii Senate Majority Caucus
Thank you for being here today – especially our guest of honor, Isis Usborne, who has taken some time out of her class schedule for this presentation. Introduce Principal Fred Murphy and Rep Lauren Matsumoto.
Let me proceed with a little background about the John S. Martinez ‘Closing the Achievement Scholarship’ that I am honored to present today.
This is a National Scholarship Award and Isis is one of only 11 students selected nationally by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures from scholarships funded by the Comcast Foundation through Comcast NBC Universal.
The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures is an organization of legislators from across the U.S. I, as well as my colleague Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, both have Puerto Rican ethnicity in our backgrounds, and have been active participants in this Hispanic Caucus organization which allows us to identify issues of importance to this growing segment of Hawaii’s population.
Census figures from 2013 indicate that residents of the islands who identify as Hispanic or Latino background represent almost ten percent of Hawaii’s population . . . and the numbers are rising, just as they are in mainland states.
The Scholarship Award we present today is named to remember the late John S. Martinez – a state legislator from Connecticut, who also served as the Hispanic Caucus President. Representative Martinez knew that education – especially education beyond high school – is vital to empowering individuals and developing leadership skills, nurturing innovative and critical thinking, and a citizens’ lifestyle that includes a commitment to public service.
The Martinez Scholarship is awarded each year to just eleven students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to community service. The other criteria are that the student be of Hispanic background, and that she or he attend school in a district represented by a lawmaker of Hispanic background. Mililani High School from where Isis recently graduated serves students in both Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka – the districts which Senator Dela Cruz and I serve as Senators.
Isis Usborne is one of the eleven students from across the country chosen to receive the Martinez Scholarship.
Isis has more than qualified for this award during her years at Mililani High School. I would like to read just one paragraph from the Senate Certificate we have prepared to recognize her accomplishments:
- Isis was a valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.
- In her community, she has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. She will use the $3,000 scholarship award to support her studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa beginning this fall.
I am told that Isis has not declared a major yet – and that she wants to “explore” political science, performing arts, earth sciences, astronomy and the humanities. In other words, she wants to do it all.
It is a pleasure to present this prestigious award to Isis Usborne with every good wish for success in the years ahead.