MONTEBELLO — Before a room filled with proud parents and supporters, 20 students were recognized as recipients of awards from the Japanese American Treaty Centennial Scholarship Fund.
The fund was founded in 1960 by the Japanese American Chamber of Commerce of Southern California in recognition of 100 years of relations between the U.S. and Japan and has honored more than 1,800 Japanese American scholars since its inception. Next year will be its 60th anniversary.
Kristen Shiba, 2014 JATCSF scholar, and Tyler Wang, 2018 JTCSF scholar, served as co-emcees of the luncheon, held at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello.
The 2019 JATCSF scholars are as follows:
Sarah Kiyoko Ando, a graduate of El Modena High in Orange, will be attending UC San Diego.
Laurent Hirakata Chang, a graduate of William Howard Taft Charter High School in Woodland Hills, will be enrolling in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Kristina Hiraishi, a graduate of South Hills High in West Covina, will be attending UC Berkeley.
Daniel Isogawa, a graduate of Ocean View High in Huntington Beach, will be attending UCLA.
Kai Itokaza, a graduate of Oak Park High in Oak Park, will be attending Chapman University.
Kyla Kikkawa, a graduate of Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada Flintridge, will be attending Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Brandon Kuo, a graduate of Mira Costa in Manhattan Beach, will be enrolling in UC Santa Cruz.
Kanon Mori, a graduate of South High in Torrance, will be attending UCLA in the fall.
Yusaku Nakano, a graduate of Torrance High, will be attending UC Berkeley.
Ian O’Connor, a graduate of Trabuco Hills in Mission Viejo, will be attending Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Mira Ayaka Ogawa, a graduate of University High, will be attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
Matt Tadashi Sanruk, a graduate of Richard Gahr High in Cerritos, will be attending UCLA.
Lynna Sato, a graduate of Crean Lutheran in Irvine, will be attending Boston College.
Kai Schelly, a graduate of North Hollywood High, will be attending UC Berkeley.
Jonathan Shiba, a graduate of Los Alamitos High, will be attending UCLA.
Spencer Yoshikaza Shin, a graduate of Polytechnic High, will be attending the University of Chicago.
Keilani Takako Sumi, a graduate of Palos Verdes Peninsula, will be attending UC Davis.
Sheena Uchino, a graduate of West High in Torrance, will be attending UC Davis.
Kamryn Uyeki, a graduate of Torrance High, will be attending Azusa Pacific University in Azusa.
Minami Yamaura, a graduate of Palos Verdes Peninsula, will be attending UC Berkeley.
Following the presentations of scholarships, Mori, who plans to major in chemistry with a career goal of becoming a biomedical researcher, offered words of gratitude to parents, siblings and supporters.
Haruo Takehana was recognized for his many years of service with JATCSF and throughout the Japanese community. He is involved in numerous organizations, including the Japanese Community Pioneer Center, Nagano Kenjinkai, and Japanese Chamber of Commerce.
Bill Watanabe, delivering an address to the students, said he initially became an engineer with Lockheed before pursuing his passion for social work as executive director of Little Tokyo Service Center. He urged the students to follow a career path that will bring them happiness and fulfillment.
In closing, Kitty Sankey, JATCSF president, said the scholarship wasn’t just a gift but also represented a commitment by the young students to give back to the Japanese American community.
Photos by GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo