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Visitor industry honors top public school seniors

By Staff | May 12, 2016

Lahainaluna High School senior Natasha Currence (center) is congratulated by, from left, David Kennedy, chief revenue officer, Honolulu Star-Advertiser; Lance Mizumoto, chairman, Hawaii State Board of Education; Amy Kunz, senior assistant superintendent, Hawaii State Department of Education; and Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO, Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association.

HONOLULU – Forty-two seniors from public high schools across the Hawaiian Islands each received $1,000 scholarships for their post-graduate educations from the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association at a recent luncheon at The MODERN Honolulu.

The Maui recipients were Natasha Currence of Lahainaluna High School, Julia A. Kimoto of Baldwin High School, Precious Helekahi of Hana High & Elementary School, Isabelle Mosbarger of King Kekaulike High School and Jacy M. Sera of Maui High School.

The scholarships, known as the Citizen-Scholar Awards, is a partnership of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Department of Education. Funding is provided by HLTA members. This was the 12th year the awards were presented.

The students were selected by the Department of Education for scholastic achievements and school and community service. Each must have a minimum 3.2 grade point average and have an extensive record of school and public service.

Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “Hawaii’s hospitality industry has been proud to honor the future leaders of our state and nation. These seniors have been selected by dint of their scholastic success as well as their invaluable contributions to their schools and our community. They represent the best of your youth, devoting themselves to volunteerism and public service, and we’re delighted to recognize them for their leadership and selflessness.”

This year, the HLTA added two new awards; the top senior representing Oahu and the top senior representing the Neighbor Islands each received an additional $2,500 scholarship. They were selected by an HLTA committee.

The recipients were Perry M. Arrasmith of Aiea High School on Oahu and Kimoto of Baldwin High School.

Arrasmith is vice president of the student body, president of the Council of Organizations, and a member of the robotics, speech and debate, and Students for Democracy clubs. He plans to attend Harvard College in the fall.

Kimoto is active in student government, a member of the National Honor Society, and a longtime 4-H member. She volunteers as a children’s soccer coach and with her church. She will attend the University of Portland.

Added Hannemann, “We added these two new awards thanks to the generosity of our HLTA members. The $2,500 scholarships are an added bonus to the two students who represent all the finest attributes of our future leaders, and we couldn’t have selected better students to inaugurate this special honor.”

The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association is a nonprofit, statewide trade organization of lodging properties, lodging owners and management companies, suppliers and related firms and individuals.

It was founded in 1947 and is now the state’s largest private sector tourism organization. Today, HLTA consists of 700 members representing the state’s leading industry, 166 of which are lodging properties comprising almost 50,000 rooms.

The HLTA is a partner state affiliate of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the largest organization of its kind in the world.