For any college-bound high school senior, there’s no greater feeling than receiving an acceptance letter from their college or university of choice. But for many, that moment of elation is quickly overshadowed by a distressing question: “How am I going to pay for this?”

That’s why student scholarship programs are so important.

There are many Realtors Association of Maui (RAM) members who support Maui’s young scholars every year. Among them are Rob Shelton of Island Sotheby’s International Realty, Betty and Roy Sakamoto of Coldwell Banker Island Properties, and Rob Manning, owner of Homes & Land Magazine of Maui. All four offer annual scholarships through the Lahainaluna High School Foundation (LHSF), a nonprofit organization that provides resources and opportunities to the Lahainaluna school community and to assist in preserving and perpetuating of Lahainaluna High School’s culture, history and traditions.  Among other things, LHSF has provided the school with a $9 million state-of-the-art multipurpose stadium; has given more than $1.25 million in grants to nearly every team, club and student organization on campus; fills the bookshelves of the school library; and administers donor-sponsored student and teacher scholarship awards every year, totaling $1.745 million since 2006.

Manning and his wife, Holly, created the Holly & Rob Manning-Homes & Land Magazine of Maui Scholarship nearly seven years ago. Rob says the idea for the annual $500 scholarship came from Holly’s mother, Toni Polancy, who started the magazine in 1991. “She mentioned it to us and we thought it was a great idea to help local students,” he said. The recipient of this year’s scholarship is Joshua Tihada, who will be heading off to the University of Las Vegas this fall to pursue a degree in a business-related field.

Shelton is a founding director of LHSF and served as president of its board of directors for 13 years. In 2017, he and his wife, Louisa, established the Shelton ‘Ohana Scholarship for graduating Lahainaluna High School seniors. Louisa and the Sheltons’ two children, Jeff and Kelvie, are all Lahainaluna graduates. The recipient of this year’s $1,000 renewable scholarship (recipients can receive a total of $4,000 if they continue their education for four years) is Rory Delaney, who will be studying forensic pathology at the University of Massachusetts Boston this fall. And the Sheltons’ support for higher education extends beyond Maui: In 2019, they created the Shelton ‘Ohana Endowed Fund for undergraduate students attending the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington (the couple’s alma mater).

The Sakamotos have been actively involved with LHSF since its early years. In 2011, they created the renewable Roy and Betty Sakamoto Scholarship for graduating Lahainaluna High School seniors. The couple has deep ties to the school: Roy, along with his father, Hiroshi, and daughter, Julie “Ehu” Flynn Sherlock, are all Lahainaluna graduates. “Our attachment to Lahainaluna has been extremely important to us and doing this scholarship has made a huge impact on our lives,” Betty explained. The recipient of this year’s $1,500 Roy and Betty Sakamoto Scholarship is Shanel Mangaoang, who will be attending Washington State University this fall with her sights set on becoming a physician’s assistant.

The Sakamotos, Sheltons and Mannings encourage others to consider helping Maui County students—at Lahainaluna or any other high school—achieve their academic and career goals by sponsoring a scholarship in any amount. For more information about the Lahainaluna High School Foundation, visit www.lahainalunahighschoolfoundation.org.

 

The Maui News – July 6, 2020

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