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Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans/Maui AJA Veterans award scholarships

By Staff | Jul 19, 2018

Pictured at the June 23 scholarship ceremony are (from left): Maybel Galace, Tiffany Banggo, Trisha Mae Rapacon, Jaymar Quedding, Ralph Murakami, John Lloyd Supnet, Katherine Swor, Kayla Tuitele and Ross Miyabuchi.

KAHULUI – Ten outstanding graduating seniors from various Maui high schools were recently awarded $1,000 scholarships from the Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans/Maui AJA Veterans Scholarship Program.

The recipients are Maybel Galace, John Lloyd Supnet and Ruby O’Donnell of Lahainaluna High School; Tiffany Banggo, Trisha Mae Rapacon and Jaymar Quedding of Maui High School; Katherine Swor of Baldwin High School; Kayla Tuitele and Hunter Worth of Kamehameha Schools Maui; and Ross Miyabuchi of King Kekaulike High School.

The Maui AJA Veterans organization established the program, awarding their first scholarship in 1951. Recently, the AJA Veterans and the Sons and Daughters organizations formed a partnership whereby the legacy of supporting Maui youth will be able to continue for years to come.

The Maui AJA Veterans Inc. formally disbanded at the end of 2016 after over 70 years of service to the Maui community. They transferred $85,000 of their scholarship fund to Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans. The combined scholarship funds have been carefully invested to ensure that the joint scholarship program will continue to support Maui students pursuing a higher education.

The veterans group continues to be a part of the scholarship name because the Sons and Daughters want to honor the Maui AJAs for their fundraising and scholarship efforts.

At the end of 2017, the Sons and Daughters were pleasantly surprised with a $10,000 donation to their scholarship fund.

In 1952, the Maui AJA Veterans Scholarship program presented their second annual scholarship to a high school senior by the name of Ralph Murakami. Times were tough for the family, but the scholarship gave Ralph the incentive and opportunity to attend the University of Hawaii, earn his degree and to achieve great success in the field of education.

Starting as a teacher, he went on to become a principal and later the Maui District superintendent for the state Department of Education. He was also awarded the 1990 Milken Family Foundation’s Educator Award.

At the time of this award, Murakami also was recognized as a National Distinguished Principal by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

His recent donation gave Murakami the means to “pay forward” the opportunity for future students to pursue their own education goals.

On Saturday, June 23, Murakami was a guest speaker and presenter at the annual Sons and Daughters/Maui AJA Veterans scholarship check presentation luncheon held at Tante’s Island Cuisine in Kahului.

Nine of the ten scholarship recipients and/or their parents were able to attend and to hear Murakami speak.