Television news anchor David Ono delivered the keynote address during the Rising Stars program culmination event on March 31, reminding the high schoolers that the future of the world will soon be in the hands of their generation.
Commending the value of the training, the ABC7 newscaster said he looks forward to the day his daughter will be old enough to take part in the Rising Stars program.
Twenty-one high schoolers completed Rising Stars-15, a youth leadership program that encourages youth involvement in the community and teaches public speaking, networking, cultural awareness, and life lessons. The program is offered by the Nikkei Federation, and training sessions are held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center over a five-month period.
Ono, an award-winning newscaster who has been in Los Angeles since 1996, encouraged the students to show appreciation to their parents and grandparents, give back to their communities, and hold on to their passion. “It’s not about being perfect. It’s about being you,” he added.
The 2017-2018 participants are Paige Arai, Charis Au, Mira Hirabayashi, Prescott Johnson, Thomas Kaneshige, James Kimura, Mia Kobayashi, Elyce Kunisaki, Grant Kuwata, Nicholas Maekawa, Melanie Oda, Kylie Okazaki, Grace Sadahiro, Brendan Sakae, Matthew Sato, Ryuta Shimizu, Jason Shimoyama, Jason Shiozaki, Emi Takemoto, Noelle Tamura, and Zachary Yang.
Kimura, one of only a few Japanese Americans at his school, particularly enjoyed interacting with other JAs, learning about his heritage and Nikkei history while also developing leadership and team-building skills.
“I know our community is brimming with hope,” emphasized Tyler Yang, recipient of the Lauren Taguchi Memorial Scholarship. Other Rising Stars-13 alums recognized were Camille Arai, Andrew Murase Memorial Scholarship; and Alyssa Suzukawa, Evan Niizawa Memorial Scholarship.
Rising Stars participants apply the skills they have acquired by organizing a fundraising miniature golf tournament. This year, the group raised a record $28,000.