Josh Jerman will never forget the day he opened his mailbox to find an acceptance letter from his university of choice. But he also remembers the feeling of uncertainty that washed over him when he realized how much his postsecondary education would cost. Fortunately, Jerman decided to apply for—and ultimately received—a number of academic scholarships. “I can tell you firsthand how important scholarships are,” he said. “I will always be grateful for the help I received.”

With that in mind, Jerman, now a Realtor-Broker with Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, vowed to pay it forward someday. After college, he moved back to Maui and started his real estate career. Then, in 2004, he fulfilled his pledge by establishing the Josh and Souk Jerman Foundation Scholarship program, which helps eligible Maui County students pay for college.

Every year since, Jerman and his wife, Souksamlane, also with Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, have given three $1,000 tuition scholarships to three high school seniors who plan to attend an accredited four-year college or university. Now in its sixteenth consecutive year, the Josh and Souk Jerman Foundation Scholarship (formerly the Josh Jerman Maui Nui Scholarship) program has provided scholarships to students who will attend an accredited four-year college or university. To date, the program has awarded more than $47,000 in scholarships to Maui, Molokai and Lanai high school seniors who plan to return to Maui County after college to contribute to the community.

This year’s recipients are Moani Kahana from Hana High and Elementary School, Malina Motulalo from Baldwin High School, and Kaitlin DeRouin from Molokai High School. This fall, DeRouin will attend Chaminade University of Honolulu, where she plans to pursue a nursing degree. Motulalo will attend Dixie State University, where she will study business administration. Kahana will attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo; she hasn’t picked a field of study yet.

DeRouin said the scholarship will help her achieve her long-term goals. “This scholarship will not only benefit me, but my community as well, because when I complete my education, I will come back home to Molokai to serve as a nurse,” she explained. Motulalo said she was elated to learn she had been selected as one of this year’s recipients. “Being able to relieve some of the financial stress for college has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders,” she said. “I want to thank Josh and Souk Jerman for believing in me and giving me this opportunity to continue my education. I will be the first in my family to attend college. I am one step closer to achieving my degree and I am thankful for their support.”

DeRouin said all college-bound students should apply for scholarships like the Josh and Souk Jerman Foundation Scholarship. “You don’t have a chance if you don’t apply,” she said. Like DeRouin, Motulalo encourages high school seniors to seek out these opportunities. “Apply for as many scholarships as you can,” she said. “Get a head start and don’t wait until the last minute. Even if you think you may not qualify, there is no harm in applying.”

Jerman will award another round of scholarships next spring. To be eligible, an applicant must be a high school senior and a resident of Maui County; be enrolled in a full-time program at an accredited four-year college or university for the 2019-20 academic year; demonstrate financial need; and plan to return and work in Maui County after graduation.

“The quality of applicants always impresses me,” Jerman said. “There are so many bright minds in Maui County—forward-thinking students who see themselves contributing to Maui County in the future. In 15 years of offering this scholarship, it’s rewarding to see the students who have returned to the islands who are fulfilling their dreams and making a difference.”

To learn more about the Josh and Souk Jerman Foundation Scholarship program, visit http://jermanfoundation.org.

By Sarah Ruppenthal
The Maui News – July 29, 2019

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