Maui High School Names 30 Valedictorians
Maui High School held its Annual Awards Night on Tuesday, May 16 at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College Pāʻina Building. The event recognized student achievement through an array of scholarship and award presentations.
Doctors Frank Baum and Colleen Inouye kicked off the program with the presentation of the Maui High School 2017 Valedictorian Awards. The scholarship is annually funded by the the Colleen F Inouye MD and Frank R Baum MD Foundation.
This year’s graduating class fielded 30 valedictorians, the school’s highest number of seniors within a single class to earn this distinction. Valedictorian honors are granted to seniors who have achieved a 4.0 cumulative GPA or higher and who have also earned and met the requirements of one of the Honor Recognition Certificates as outlined by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education.
The doctors awarded a total of $15,000 in scholarship funds. They also once again gifted each Saber valedictorian with a baseball cap from each of the awardees’ designated college or university.
Senator Gil-Keith Agaran, an alumnus of Maui High School and Yale University, was in attendance to present the Yale Book Award to juniors Camryn Ban and Taylor Tagud. This recognition is awarded to students at the end of their junior year at public and private secondary schools who are noted for outstanding personal character and intellectual promise.
The Maui High School Foundation Scholarship was also among the presentations. The Foundation granted $10,500 in scholarships to deserving seniors in the categories of General Scholarship, CTE Scholarship, and AVID Scholarship. Foundation board member Brian Moto notes the Foundation was able to award an additional $500 AVID Scholarship this year through the generosity of recently retired principal, Bruce Anderson. Anderson was also in attendance and presented the scholarship to recipient Shanlee Sumibcay who will be attending UH Maui College to study Dental Hygiene.
For the first time, the awards program featured a college signing portion in which seniors who were presented with scholarships that night were also given a designated moment in the spotlight to formally sign a letter of intent to attend their selected colleges and universities.
Principal Jamie Yap said, “this resembles an athletic signing, and the idea is not to let Athletic achievement overshadow Academics. You have to balance them.” According to Yap, the idea came from Maui High’s College and Career Counselor Tad Iwata. “We do it for our outstanding athletes, so why not do it for our outstanding scholars as well,” Yap said. A total of 68 soon to be college students participated in the signing session with friends and family looking on.
Iwata, who was also the event coordinator, stated that “only a fraction of the scholarships earned by this year’s seniors were recognized in the program. We are very proud of our seniors who have acquired and reported over $15 million in merit or academic based scholarships so far. This is the largest sum of merit based scholarships reported by a senior class in my years at Maui High.” Iwata has been the College and Career Counselor at Maui High since 2007.
At the conclusion of the event, Principal Yap announced Iwata’s upcoming departure from Maui High School that will take place at the end of the school year. “Mr. Iwata will surely be missed as he moves into a new direction to support his family.” Yap announced that Scott Tressidder, who is the grade-level counselor for this year’s senior class, will be filling the vacancy created by Iwata as our the school’s College and Career counselor.
“Tad has had an influence in the growing number of college-going graduates across Maui,” says Maui High Parent-Community Facilitator Stacy Woodson. “He has been a great and valuable resource over the years not only to our students, but to any student from any school seeking college preparation or financial aid pointers. He has been a great collaborator with other high schools and organizations in developing and sharing college prep and college awareness strategies. He has developed relations with colleges from all over the nation and has been successful in recruiting many of their reps to our schools and College Fairs. Mostly he has helped a lot of students get into college despite financial barriers. We were very lucky to have him. He’s made a difference for a number of families during his time here.”
Maui High’s 2017 Senior Class will be holding their graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at the War Memorial Stadium beginning at 5 p.m.