Cherry Blossom Festival Scholarship Winners Named

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SAN FRANCISCO — The 2012 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Community Service Scholarship Committee has announced two recipients of $2,000 scholarships.

Public presentation of the scholarships was made at the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening ceremony on April 14 on the Peace Plaza Stage in San Francisco Japantown. Following are profiles of the winners.

• Lindsey Anne Keiko Wong is a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento and the daughter of Jan Okimoto Wong and Samuel Wong of Sacramento. She has a 4.3 weighted grade point average and has already received admission notices from UC San Diego, UC Davis and UC Irvine. She plans to study environmental science and continue for a graduate degree. She is straight “A” student and is ranked No. 1 out of 491 graduating seniors.

Lindsey Wong

In the community, she has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, Japan earthquake and tsunami relief, Harvest Sacramento, American River Clean-up, Earth Week, Alliance for Climate Education, Eco Jam, which benefits Wildlife Care Association and Friends of the River, and Strive for Strength, whose mission is to inform, educate and empower young women.

In addition, she has been a tutor for students at the Peter Burnett Elementary School Reading Program, a volunteer at the Asian Community Center Nursing Home, and teacher’s assistant at the Sacramento Buddhist Church Dharma School. She is also a member of the Sakura Minyo Doo Koo Kai (Japanese folk song and dance society), which performs annually at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

In May 2011, Wong received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) for her involvement in various organizations. Last January, she received the Violet Richardson Award from the Sacramento Chapter of Soroptimist International for her outstanding community service in the City of Sacramento.

Wong wrote in her application essay that her greatest honor is “the opportunity to work with others to make a difference.” Reflecting on her Japanese and Chinese heritage, she wrote, “As almost all of us derive from immigrant families, I know the American dream is pursued by all of us, and each minority community has made significant contributions in building America.”

Voted by her classmates in her graduating class as “Most Likely to Make a Difference,” she is president of the Japanese Culture Club, co-president of the Ecology Club, and a member of the Science and Technology Robotics Team. She has taken six Advanced Placement classes and was selected to attend the UC San Diego Oceans and Global Climate Change Concentration Program and the UC Santa Cruz Marine Mammals and Oceanography Concentration program.

• Kristy Ishii is a senior at Salinas High School and the daughter of Linden and Janice Ishii of Salinas. She has a weighted grade point average of 4.49 and is ranked No. 1 of 562 graduating seniors. Kristy is a straight “A” student and has taken seven Advanced Placement classes. She has received acceptance notices from Santa Clara University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. She plans to study business/international relations and/or political science.

Kristy Ishii

In the community, Ishii has served as president of Salinas Jr. JACL for two years; teacher’s aide in the Hikari no Gakko program; student ambassador in the Salinas-Ichikikushikino Sister City program, through which she spent two weeks in Japan; and activities director the past three years for the Buddhist Temple of Salinas YBA.

Her Advanced Placement English teacher writes in his letter of recommendation that she is “not the passive type, rather she is one who is built on action.” Recently, Ishii organized a presentation by civil rights advocate Mas Hashimoto to over 600 students at Salinas High School. The teacher writes, “Not only was it received well by students and staff alike, it was an event that reflects the values and beliefs that Kristy holds dear. What I respect most about Kristy is her ability to move forward without forgetting her past.”

Ishii has been the captain for the varsity softball team for two years, Most Valuable Defensive Player for the varsity soccer team, and a recipient of the California Scholarship Federation’s Scholar Athlete Award. For the past three years, she has been involved with the Link Crew program, which is designed to mentor incoming freshmen. In addition, she has taken several years of piano and says that it is one of her favorite hobbies.

For further information on the scholarship program, contact Steven Hirabayashi at (510) 471-7324 or [email protected] For more information on the Cherry Blossom Festival, visit www.nccbf.org.

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