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Chenelle Mae Andres earns Kapaia Scholarship

KAPAIA — The motivation for creating the Kapaia Foundation Scholarship is to recognize the dreams of sugar plantation era immigrants for the success of their descendants.

Chenelle Mae Andres, who graduated from Kaua‘i High School in May, is the great great granddaughter of Apo Mateo, who left his family in the Philippines in 1946 to work at Olokele Sugar Plantation. Following 30 years of hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, Mateo was finally able to reunite with his wife and other family members on Kaua‘i.

Chenelle, the daughter of Nelson and Richelle Andres, was announced the recipient of the 2024 Kapaia Foundation on Saturday during a picnic in the shadow of the Kapaia Swinging Bridge that formerly was a key connector between Hanamalu and Lihu‘e from its anchor points, the Immaculate Conception Church and Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission.

With plans on utilizing the scholarship to pursue her nursing degree at the Portland State University, the presentation demonstrated how the plantation influenced Chanelle’s life as she credited her ancestors and their lives in the plantation for the privilege of pursuing higher education.

“Now and then, I’ll drive past the little town of Kaumakani where I learned the humble beginnings of my family, inspiring me to always illuminate hard work, grit, and perseverance in everything I do,” said Chenelle in an essay to the Kapaia Foundation.

While a student at Kaua‘i High School, Chenelle participated in a number of activities, including the Key Club, the Leo Club, Filipino Club, the Media Club, HOSA (a health pathways academy) and National Honor Society.

She also spent volunteer time with the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank, Run Club Kaua‘i, the Friends of Kamalani Playground and Lydgate Park, the King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School A-Plus program and the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School Creative Arts Program.

Her academic honors including CTE Honors and Principals’ List for four years, being the recipient of the 2023 Harvard Prize Book Award and the 2023 National Rural and Small Town Recognition.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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