SAN FRANCISCO — The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival has announced the winners of two $2,000 scholarships.
Following are profiles of the winners, who will be recognized at the Cherry Blossom Festival’s opening ceremony on Saturday, April 12, at 1:15 p.m. on the Peace Plaza Stage, Post and Buchanan streets in Japantown.
• Kylene T. Hashimoto is a graduating senior from Clovis High School in Clovis with a GPA of 4.02. She is the daughter of Russell and Wilma Hashimoto of Clovis. She plans to major in business/communications and then attend law school at Loyola Marymount University.
She is the organizer of a group called Kyndness4kids, which collects and distributes pajamas to displaced and needy children. Over the past years, the group has collected over 1,300 pairs of brand new pajamas and donated them to the Marjaree Mason Center for abused women and their children, Craycroft Center and Shelter for the homeless, and Court Appointed Special Advocates for foster youths. The list of places where she has been able to receive donations includes community agencies, the Girl Scouts, local high schools and the 4H Club. She spends hours making presentations to various organizations to support the Kyndness4kids.
Kylene has also been active with the Clovis JACL, March of Dimes, Poverello Homeless Shelter and Special Olympics. Due to her extraordinary community volunteer work, she has been recognized by the ANNPowerNital Voices Award for Community Contribution and was selected as one of 50 high school student nationally to attend a conference to meet national leaders such as Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She has also been recognized by the Kohl Cares Community Award committee and has attended the national Student Leadership Conference at American University in Washington, D.C.
Kylene has been on the Varsity Cheerleading Squad at Clovis High School the past four years; is a life member of the California Scholarship Federation and a member of the National High School Scholars; has taken Advanced Placement courses in European history, biology, English literature, calculus BC, environmental science, and psychology; and has been on the Principal’s Academic Achievement list every semester.
The executive director of First 5 Fresno County writes, “What sets Kylene apart from others is her perseverance to make a difference and put needs of others above hers. Kylene has been nationally recognized locally by the Kohl’s Cares Program for her community contributions … Kylene has been tenacious to make a difference in her community.”
• Emily Aya Isakari is a graduating senior from Davis Senior High School in Davis with a GPA of 3.75. She is the daughter of Marcia and Henry Isakari of Davis. She plans to major in biology and has not decided on which university she will attend, although she has been accepted to Cal Poly Pomona and Seattle University.
A Girl Scout for almost 10 years, Emily has received the organization’s Gold Award, Silver Award and Bronze Award. She also has been active with the French Camp JACL Chapter for over 10 years and has received the Pacific Citizen “Extraordinary APA of the Year” award.
She has been an assistant coach the past three years for the Davis Special Olympics basketball and softball teams. She is the founder of Team HBV, a group to promote awareness in the Davis community of the spread of hepatitis B and is affiliated with Stanford University in that effort. She was recently one of 100 students selected nationwide to attend Stanford University School of Medicine Asian Liver Center’s Youth Leadership Conference to learn about hepatitis B health care issues.
Emily plays French horn for the Davis Senior High School Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the school’s Varsity Badminton Team. She has taken Advanced Placement courses in chemistry, calculus AB, biology and Japanese. She has studied in Nara for six weeks through a scholarship from the Japan America Friendship Society administered by Youth for Understanding Exchange Program. She is a lifetime member of the California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society.
At the request of George Komure Elementary School in Stockton, she spearheaded a project for the French Camp JACL. School officials needed help organizing an exhibit to provide current and future students with a history of the person their school was named after. Through her effort, the school now knows that George Komure was more than just a local farmer and school board member; he also served in the U.S. Army during World War II while his family was in internment camp and contributed to the development of Stockton as a city. This has established a “living legacy” at George Komure Elementary School.
The president of the French Camp JACL writes that when Emily organized a health fair for senior citizens at her church, “she was able to recruit a dozen health care professionals” and “has established a remarkable record of community involvement, leading major events involving more than a hundred people.”
The festival will be held on the weekends of April 12-13 and 19-20 in Japantown. For more information, visit http://sfcherryblossom.org.
Now in its 27th year, the scholarship program if for graduating seniors of Japanese descent in Northern California. Applicant must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a scale of 4.0, and should be actively involved in her or his local community. Students are awarded scholarships on the basis of commitment to their community, written essays, academic achievement and personal character.
The Nikkei Lions Club of San Francisco administers the scholarship program. For further information, contact Steven Hirabayashi at (510) 471-7324 or [email protected]