By Sarah Ruppenthal
It goes without saying that academic scholarships can make the dream of college a reality for many students. Not only do scholarships help make higher education possible for those who can’t afford to pay out of pocket, but they can also spare them the stress of beginning their professional lives with a heavy load of student debt.
Just ask the hundreds of graduates from local private and public high schools countywide who are now pursuing degrees at colleges and universities across the country with the help of the scholarships they received from the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) Presidential Scholarship Fund.
Since it was established in 1989, the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Fund has awarded $877,000 in academic scholarships to high school seniors and past scholarship recipients from Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i. (Past recipients can apply every year they are in school, up to four years.) Funds for the annual scholarship program are raised through Mea Kako‘o, a group of sponsors who collectively donate money to the program, and events like the Maui Visitor Industry Charity Walk, RAM’s Got Talent event, RAMCF Presidential Scholarship Golf Event and RAM’s annual installation and membership gala.
Last year, RAMCF awarded scholarships to 23 students from Maui, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i. Among them are Collette Chapman, Kaydence Lilio and Kayla Tuitele. Chapman is a 2022 graduate of King Kekaulike High School and is currently pursuing a degree in biochemistry at Northern Arizona University. “I am filled with joy and feeling extremely blessed that I have the opportunity to pursue a degree at a post-secondary institution,” she said. “I’m glad that I have support from many people that are not only family and friends, but also those within my own community.”
Like Chapman, Lilio started her freshman year last fall. The 2022 Kamehameha Schools Maui graduate is now studying nursing at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. “I am super grateful for the Realtors Association of Maui for helping me pursue my dreams of attending college to one day become a nurse,” she said.
Tuitele is a repeat recipient of the RAMCF Presidential Scholarship. She is currently studying elementary education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “I feel honored to be awarded this scholarship, as it will relieve a financial burden off my shoulder and allow me to focus on using the resources at BYU to prepare to be the best teacher I possibly can,” Tuitele said. “I would like to express my deepest gratitude for this monetary gift, which will bring me one step closer to reaching my educational and career goals.”
To be eligible for this year’s scholarship, an applicant must be a high school senior or a former recipient of the scholarship from the previous three years. They must also be in the process of applying or reapplying to an accredited college or university or trade school. Applicants must be full-time Maui County residents who are currently attending, or have previously attended, a public or private high school in Maui County. Students attending private high schools off island will be considered residents of Maui County if they are living off island for the specific purpose of attending that private school. Current GED participants are also encouraged to apply.
Last year, the Realtors Association of Maui Community Foundation (RAMCF) awarded academic scholarships to 23 students from Maui, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i who are now pursuing degrees at colleges and universities across the country. Twenty-one of the 23 recipients are pictured here.
Individual photos courtesy of 2022 RAMCF Presidential Scholarship recipients
“Maui Realtors are helping to make the dream come true for those who are ready to take the next step in their education by means of the RAM Community Foundation Scholarship Fund. All graduating Maui County high school seniors are encouraged to apply if they plan to attend college, university, or a trade school,” said 2022-23 RAM President Karin Carlson. “Donations to the Scholarship Fund are welcome at any time throughout the year. Because the RAM Community Foundation is a 501c(3), these donations are tax-deductible.”
To apply, visit www.ScholarsApp.com, create a free account, and search for “Realtors Association of Maui Presidential Scholarship.” Students must complete the application and submit all accompanying documents no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17. Only on-time and complete applications will be considered. Paper applications are available for those who do not have internet access. To obtain a paper application, students can contact their respective school’s guidance counselor. For more information about the scholarship program, visit