If you’re a college-bound high school senior, there’s nothing like the thrill of finding out you’ve been accepted to your school of choice. But for many, that feeling is eclipsed by a harsh reality: the cost of attending college. I know that feeling firsthand. As a high school senior, I was elated when I found out I’d been accepted to the University of Hawai’i. But the price tag for college stung. Thankfully, I applied for and received several scholarships. Along with tuition assistance from family and student loans, those scholarships provided an educational lifeline and I will always be grateful to the benefactors who made it possible for me to achieve my academic goals, ultimately graduating from the University of Washington.
That’s why I launched the Josh and Souk Jerman Foundation Scholarship program 13 years ago. Since then, I’ve given more than $40,000 in scholarship funds to students from high schools on the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i. Each year, I award three $1,000 tuition scholarships to students pursuing a range of degrees, from neuroscience and mechanical engineering to culinary arts and fashion design. Their academic interests may vary, but these young scholars all have one thing in common: they intend to contribute to our community and the local economy after graduation.
I created the scholarship program not only to “pay it forward,” but also to encourage local, college-bound high school students to use their education to benefit Maui County. I grew up on Maui and I believe there are many opportunities here at home and these bright young minds can make a big difference.
Every year, I’m impressed by the caliber of students who apply for the scholarship and 2016 was no exception. Last year’s recipients were Dean Omura from Lahainaluna High School, Jasmine Cabajar from Maui High School, and Nohea Stoner from Hāna High and Elementary School. Dean is currently attending the University of Portland, where he is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Jasmine is a student at Portland State University, where she is studying pre-physical therapy. Nohea is now attending UH Maui College, where she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of earning a culinary arts degree.
This year, three more high school seniors will receive the $1,000 scholarship awards. To be eligible, an applicant must be a resident of Maui County; be enrolled in a full-time program at an accredited four-year college or university (for the 2017-18 academic year); demonstrate financial need; and plan to return and work in Maui County after graduation.
The application deadline is February 20 and recipients will be notified on or before March 31st. Scholarship funds will be awarded to recipients’ respective schools in mid-August. Students can download application materials at JermanFoundation.org or inquire with their school counselor.
I encourage all Maui County high school seniors to apply.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.