The Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) awards scholarships each year to young people graduating from Maui County high schools, with each honoree receiving at least $1,000 toward college expenses. While adding that money to the portfolio of payment methods is important, listing a “win” of a competitive local scholarship on the student’s academic resume is also very important, perhaps giving him or her an edge in applications for additional financial aid and grants.
Over the years, from the inception of the RAM Presidential Scholarship Fund in 1989 through 2007, a total of $235,000 was presented to scholars graduating from high school. In 2008, $45,000 was added to the total. As part of that amount, there were three former RAM Scholarship awardees, who, thanks to a change in the rules, were allowed to apply for renewals and succeeded. This year, those three renewals were extended again, and three 2008 scholarship winners were granted renewals, as well.
An additional $30,000 was awarded in 2009. So, RAM Scholarship awards to-date are now $310,000. “All of these young people,” said RAM Chief Staff Executive Terry Tolman, “have demonstrated their ability to achieve good standing academically, but equally as important, they have shown a concern for the community and an interest in improving life in Maui County once they complete their education.”
RAM Presidential Scholarships awarded to 2009 graduates include: from Baldwin High School, Chentell A. Stiritz and Tiare Pimentel; Häna High School, Aaron Friesen, Gabrial K. Von Wellsheim, and Lucas Weigang; Kamehameha Schools Maui, Veronica L. Nakanelua and Keely S. Rivera; King Kekaulike High School, Celina J. Hayashi, Keali‘i Ribao, Santashia Perales-Manoa and Summer Wilkinson; Lahainaluna High School, Jacqueline M. Owens, Kelsey Fortey and Myles A. Tabios; Maui High School, Eduardo Serrano, Lea Meliza Pigao, Lornalyn D. Castillo, Melanie Ragamat, Natasha-Amber M. Sensano and Tyson Suehiro; Moloka‘i High School, Colton R. Manley and John P. A. Rosales; St. Anthony High School, Michael Chau and Ryan Rodriguez.
The three scholars who earned scholarships from RAM last year as they graduated from local high schools, who were awarded renewals this year to help them continue their successful college careers are King Kekaulike High graduate Ashley Marie Ventimiglia who is studying at California Polytechnic; Maui High graduate Jessica Caraang who is at Hawai‘i Pacific University; and Joshua Weigang, at Southern Oregon University, who graduated from Häna High School.
In addition to the new grads and two-time awardees, the three scholarship winners coming back for a second renewal are Baldwin High graduate Nitasha C. Stiritz who is studying at Point Loma University; and Maui High School graduates Shane-Ann Suehiro, who is studying at University of Washington, and Kristen Scarlett Neeck at the University of Portland.
RAM President Bob Lightbourn said, “I want to congratulate the 2009 scholarship winners, and to especially recognize those who have stayed in school, succeeded in their studies, and been recognized with extensions of their RAM Scholarships. I know that all of Maui is proud of these young people.”