GARDENA — The 2019 South Bay Japanese American Citizens League Scholarship Awards Dinner was held on May 21 at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.
Nine South Bay students received scholarships totaling $7,500. Four students were awarded the Kiichi Egashira Memorial Scholarship, two students were awarded the Janice Kobata Zoeger Memorial Scholarship, one student was awarded the Ernest K. Tsujimoto Memorial Scholarship, and two students were awarded the Gardena Valley JACL Scholarship.
Keynote speaker for the evening was Stephanie Nitahara, who talked about her life journey from the time she received her first JACL Scholarship as a high school graduate in Chicago to her travels to Los Angeles and her current role as executive director for Kizuna.
• The Kiichi Egashira Memorial Scholarship was first awarded in 1989. It was established by Ichiro Eagashira in memory of his brother Kiichi, who was an engineer. The scholarship is to be given to deserving undergraduate and graduate students who are studying in scientific fields including mathematics, engineering, computer science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy biological and physical science. Since 1989 over $215,000 has been awarded to over 167 students in the South Bay.
$1,500 — Jennifer Terada, daughter of Robert and Karen Terada of Rancho Palos Verdes, graduated from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in June with many academic achievementsm including being a National Merit Scholar, a California Scholarship Federation sealbearer, and member of the National Honor Society. Jennifer was a gold and silver medalist for the National Latin Examination and a member of the Technology Student Association TEAMS Engineering Competition national finalist. She also earned fourth place in the 9th Circuit Civics Essay Contest.
Jennifer’s on-campus activities at PVPHS include being the president of the Latin Honor Society, violinist for the PVP High School Orchestra, and a member of the Girls’ Basketball Team.
Her off-campus activities include being a violinist for the L.A. Metro Youth Orchestra, a camp counselor for Kizuna’s Youth Camp, a participant in Kizuna’s Rising Stars Youth Leadership Program, and a volunteer for the Las Hermanas Service Group. She is also a head basketball coach for K-1st grade.
Jennifer will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, majoring in civil engineering.
$1,000 — Jeremy Gray, son of Robert and Summer Gray of Redondo Beach, graduated from West Torrance High School in June with academic achievements that include being an AP Scholar with Honor and being on the Principal’s Honor Roll since 2016.
Jeremy’s on-campus activities include being the executive director of the Interact Rotary Club, a board member of the Japanese Club, and the woodwind captain of the West High Marching Band.
His off-campus activities include being a volunteer pianist for Torrance Memorial Medical Hospital, a student delegate for the Torrance Sister City Association, and a member of a clarinet trio for Junior Chamber Music. He plays special music for South Bay Adventist Church.
Jeremy will be attending Case Western Reserve University in the fall, majoring in biology and music.
$1,000 — Kanon Christy Mori, daughter of Tasuo and Mari Mori of Torrance, graduated from South Torrance High School in June with many academic achievements, including receiving the AP Scholar with Distinction Award and being awarded Spartan Laurels in mathematics and science. She took second place in the Chemistry Lab at the Science Olympiad, Los Angeles Regionals, and was awarded AP+PLTW Student Achievement in Engineering.
Her on-campus activities include being president and team captain for the Science Club and Olympiad, president of the KIWIN’s Service Club, and varsity team captain for South’s Cross Country and Track Team.
Kanon’s off-campus activities include being a board member for the Japan Alliance, a research assistant for the L.A. Biomed Institute, a nurse assistant and volunteer pianist for Torrance Memorial Medical Hospital, and a nurse assistant for Cedars-Sinai Hospital. She was also a volunteer pianist for Keiro Retirement Home.
She will be attending Brown University in the fall, majoring in chemistry.
$1,000 — Nicholas Harrison Shey, son of Randolph and Deanne Shey of Rancho Palos Verdes, graduated from Palos Verdes High School in June with academic achievements including being an AP Capstone diplomate and AP Capstone founding scholar. He was also elected student ambassador and to the Math Honor Society for Northfield Mt. Hermon School.
His on-campus activities included being a member of the PV High School Surf Team and a leader, representative and student ambassador for Northfield Mt. Hermon.
Nicholas’ off-campus activities include being a volunteer counselor and assistant trainer for the Community Helpline, a student intern for Long Beach Memorial Hospital, and a docent and junior scientist at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium. He helped work projects for the Audubon Society and is a member of the L.A. County Junior Lifeguards.
He will be attending the University of San Diego in the fall, majoring in biology.
• The Janice Kobata Zoeger Memorial Scholarship was first awarded in 2007. It was established by John Zoeger in memory of his wife Janice Kobata, who was born in Gardena and spent the World War II years in the Amache, Colo. internment camp. She taught at Ulysses S. Grant High School in the San Fernando Valley. The scholarship is designed to be given to deserving undergraduate and graduate students in any field of study relating to biological sciences, foreign and/or ancient languages, or business. Since 2007, over $20,000 has been awarded to over 30 students in the South Bay
$500 — Kelli Sakaguchi, daughter of Wesley and Sonya Sakaguchi of Torrance, graduated from Rolling Hills Preparatory in June with many academic achievements, including earning AP Awards in Calculus AB, European History, English Literature and Composition, and U.S. History. She was also awarded the American Sign Language III Award and earned High Honor Roll status by maintaining a 4.0 and above grade point average.
Her on-campus activities include being the secretary for the National Honors Society, a tutor for the Math Tutor Club, and the statistician for the Varsity Basketball Team.
Kelli will be attending UCLA in the fall, majoring in physical science.
$500 — Devon Misano Kawada, daughter of Arthur and Kumiko Kawada of Torrance, just completed her junior year at Oregon State University. She graduated from South Torrance High School in 2016 and was awarded the Art “Gator” Callen School Athletic Award Scholarship by the Kiwanis Club of Torrance. In 2016, Devon was awarded the South Bay JACL Janice Kobata Zoeger Memorial Scholarship.
At Oregon State University, Devon was a volunteer at the MS Clinic, an intern for PT Northwest-Corvallis and member of the Physical Therapy Club.
She will be graduating from Oregon State University in 2020, majoring in kinesiology.
• The Ernest K. Tsujimoto Memorial Scholarship is named in honor of one of the founders of the South Bay JACL, who spent many, many hours volunteering for many of the chapter’s activities. He passed away in May 2017 and the scholarship was established in 2018 by his family for students planning to attend a college or university in pursuit of an undergraduate/graduate degree in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math.
$1,000 — Amanda Kimiko Wong, daughter of Kenneth and Teresa Wong of Torrance, graduated from Torrance High School in 2013. She graduated from UCLA in 2017 with a degree in psychobiology.
While at the UCLA, she earned many scholastic honors, including the UCLA Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma Local and Senior Scholarship Awards. Amanda was on the Dean’s List and earned the UCLA Chancellor’s Service Award.
Her on-campus activities include being both the professional development chair and external vice president for the ALD/PES Honor Societies and being a research assistant for the Psychology Lab.
Amanda’s off-campus activities included being the student ambassador for the Kakehashi Project Program, a volunteer for the UCLA Care Extenders, and a mentor for the Youth Empowerment Program. She also volunteered for UCLA Stroke and Neurology.
She will be attending Western University’s College of Graduate Nursing.
• Gardena Valley JACL Scholarship. The Gardena Valley JACL closed its chapter in 2012 but wanted to continue its scholarship program. The South Bay JACL Chapter asked to provide the platform for the scholarships.
$500 — Jasmine Kono-Song, daughter of Scott Song and Cheryl Kono, graduated from San Pedro High School in June with many academic achievements, including being on the Principal’s Honor Roll and High Honor Roll. She was named the College Bound Member of the Month and had the highest GPA on the San Pedro High School Cheer Team.
Jasmine’s on-campus activities included being president of the API Club, JV captain for the Cheer Team, and a member of the Knights and Knightettes
Her off-campus activities include being the president, treasurer and vice president for the Jr. Young Buddhist League Cabinet, a camp counselor for both the Kizuna Leadership Camp and the Tanoshii Fun Camp, and a member of a hula dancing group.
Jasmine will be attending UC Santa Barbara, majoring in sociology.
$500 — Joshua Matsuda, son of Daniel and Linda of Torrance, graduated from North Torrance High School in June with many academic achievements, including earning Certificates of Excellence in Mathematics, English and Social Science. He was also awarded the Medal of Excellence in World Language in Japanese and was on the Principal’s Honor Roll with Distinction for every semester.
His on-campus activities included being on the JV Cross Country Team and Track Team. He was also a member of the FCA, a Christian athletic club on campus.
Joshua’s off-campus activities include being an Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader for Boy Scout Troop 719 and a volunteer for Gardena Valley Baptist Church.
He will be attending UCLA in the fall, majoring in atmospheric and oceanic science.