HANALEI — Hilina‘i Anakalea, a graduating sixth grader of Hanalei School, is the winner of the Larry Ching Memorial Scholarship, funded by Ching Young Village Shopping Center.
“I’m so happy I received the scholarship,” Anakalea said. “My grandpa always told me he’d be so proud of me if I won as valedictorian, and I did. I kept my fingers crossed the whole time they were about to announce the scholarship winner.”
Anakalea, the daughter of Blake and Haleakala Anakalea of Hanalei, received $5,000.
“Both my husband and I are so proud of Hilina‘i,” said Haleakala Anakalea. “She’s worked very hard and hoped she would be able to win, but you never know until it’s announced. We definitely had tears of joy when her name was said, and she was full of smiles while accepting the scholarship.”
Haleakala Anakalea said she is most proud of her daughter not because of her doing well academically in school, but also because she is the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Hanalei School and the first in her family to win the Larry Ching award.
“To have a Hawaiian child born and raised in Hanalei win the valedictorian scholarship was definitely a proud moment for our entire ‘ohana,” Haleakala Anakalea said.
Center General Partner Mike Ching gave the award to Hilina‘i, and a speech to the school, last week.
“She worked extremely hard at Hanalei School, and graduated as the valedictorian of her class,” Ching said. He said Anakalea hopes to continue her studies and become an attorney and return to Kaua‘i to help its citizens.
The Larry Ching Memorial Scholarship is in memory of the late Larry Ching. It awarded to the graduating valedictorian at Hanalei School each year to help further his or her education, and the selection is made by the faculty.
According to Ching, Larry Ching always wanted to go to college. Due to economic hardship at that time, he was not able to enroll. To fulfill his dream, his family decided to award an annual scholarship to a student who will enroll in higher education. Larry Ching was a graduate of Hanalei School, and his scholarship is only available to Hanalei students.
“After some discussion, it was decided to let the school set the criteria and select the winner of the scholarship,” Ching said. “The idea was to give back to someone living in our community.”
Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: The Garden Island