‘Oscar’ Chihara Scholarships awarded to Rickard, Sakalia
LAHAINA — The loss of the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic erased the senior year for student-athletes across the nation and here in the islands.
For the Lahainaluna High School football team, the cancellation of the 2020 season erased their opportunity to add to their streaks of ten consecutive Maui Interscholastic League Division II titles and four straight Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II championships.
The Lunas were also moving up to compete in the Division I category for the 2020 campaign.
But if there is one thing that Lahainaluna football players learn in their years in the youth and high school programs, it is perseverance –not only in football, but in life itself. It is a standard of human ethics that permeates the entire West Side community.
It is also the gridiron spirit of Arthur Osamu “Oscar” Chihara, an undersized offensive guard and linebacker who captained the University High School Warriors team in West Los Angeles of the early 1960s.
In his ever-present passion and poise on the gridiron, Chihara exemplified the spirit that defines this positive, winning spirit.
Oscar Chihara passed away unexpectedly at the age of 44, but his legacy will continue in college scholarships awarded to two Lahainaluna seniors following every season.
The awards are funded by Oscar’s friends and business associates, Michael and Jane Heagerty of the Harry W. Gorst Company, and sponsored by the Chihara family of Lahaina.
So, despite the loss of their final season, the Luna seniors will continue to persevere in life with the support of the Lahaina community.
The recipients of the 2020-21 Arthur Osamu “Oscar” Chihara Memorial Scholarship, Passion and Poise, are Tre Rickard and Hookipa Sakalia. They were each awarded $1,500.
Rickard, the son of Emerlita and Todd Rickard, will attend Mt. San Antonio College in California. There Tre plans to play ball and get an education in real estate and construction management.
He credits his parents and his brother, TJ, for his success in life.
Sakalia, meanwhile, will be off to Western Montana University to study anthropology and sociology, and hopes to contribute to the success of the football team there.
Hookipa praises his mom, Ofa Olakauatu, and Coach Lanny Tihada for his positive life.
Lunas Co-head Coach Dean Rickard — whose son, Teanu, also won the award — has worked with his nephew, Tre, and Hookipa for over seven years in the Big Boys program and at the high school level.
He stated, “These two boys are both products of our Big Boys program since the sixth grade. They were key members and components of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Division II State Champions. Unfortunately, all we can do is speculate on what could have been for the 2020 season, and both of these players will be sorely missed as we prepare for the 2021 season.
“While Kipa toiled in the trenches and was an anchor on the offensive line, Tre was a versatile, skilled position player on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Both of them had a relentless work ethic and willingness to do whatever it took to make the team and themselves better. Both plan to play collegiately, and we wish them all the best moving forward,” Coach Dean concluded.