McKinley seniorBy Mary Adamski
wins top award
When McKinley High School senior Sandra Kim was named top winner in the annual Sterling Scholar Awards Program, the first thing she did was look for the expressions on her parents' faces.
"My parents sacrificed many things for my education, so I could dream big," said Kim after the competition yesterday at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her dad's advice to "always try three times harder" has been the motto throughout her 17 years, she said.
John J.K. and Johnna Kim, who immigrated from Korea 20 years ago, were there to watch their younger daughter add another star to a crown of achievement that includes being named Hawaii's Junior Miss and winning the University of Hawaii Regent Scholar title and full four-year tuition. Sandra is student body president at McKinley and ranks second in her class of 419 with a 4.1 grade point average.
She was presented a $5,000 scholarship in the Sterling Scholar Awards Program, which was started by the Polynesian Cultural Center 14 years ago. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Ticket Plus and NBC Hawaii News 8 also sponsored this year's program in which $60,000 in scholarships were granted.
Other winners in the general scholarship competition were David Anderson, top of his Radford High School class with a 4.17 grade point average, who earned $3,000, and Kristyn Kitabayashi, top of her Mililani High School class with a 4.20 grade point average, who received $2,000.
Public school seniors also won the top awards in seven of the 12 subject categories that provide first prizes of $2,000, second place, $1,000 and third place, $500. All 65 finalists left the ceremonies with cash scholarships or U.S. Savings Bonds.
Students were judged on their leadership and citizenship as well as academic achievement.
Some of Kim's community activities reflect her college and career goals. She has been a Honolulu Teen Court volunteer for four years. In the Family Court program, teen-agers who have been charged with a first misdemeanor are prosecuted and defended by their peers before a judge. Another assignment, in the Volunteers in Public Service program, put her in a judge's aide job for Family Court Judge Darryl Choy, which was an "excellent experience, it really finalized my decision to go into the field of law."
The Hawaii's Junior Miss competition she won in January provided a Hawaii Pacific University scholarship and she was offered a full scholarship from Santa Clara University, but Kim said she plans to attend the University of Hawaii for her undergraduate years. Kim will compete in the national Junior Miss scholarship pageant in Mobile, Ala., in mid-June. Her performance of Korean drumming and dance won top talent honors in the state pageant.
"I know I am going to live here, I am going to work for Hawaii," said Kim, who is proud that she and other public school scholars were recognized, including three others from McKinley.
"You hear a lot of talk about the public education system, but if students really want a good education, it's out there. You just have to go out and get it.
"I have an advantage because I am from a public school," said the self-assured teen-ager. "You meet all different types of people from all different types of backgrounds. You learn to work with them and work around your differences. That's a very important skill to have when I get out there in the working world."
Kim said that her father, who began working three jobs when he arrived here and has been an employee of The Gas Company for 17 years, insisted that his wife not work so their daughters would have a full and secure home life, and that his two daughters not work: "Being a student was my full-time job."
Because they spoke little English, "I received no academic support from home, my parents didn't know how to provide that for me. I had to take the initiative," said Kim. An example was her entry in the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair. She got the idea from a Science magazine article, then called around seeking help from university and high school instructors. "Lawrence Mordan at Kamehameha Schools agreed to help me, he was my mentor." The project, studying anti-carcinogenic effects of garlic extracts on the growth rate of a strain of human colon cancer, won best of category and second place overall in the state science fair two years ago.
"My parents didn't expect too much when they first came here because life was hard. When I did all that I did in school, they said they are proud because I did those things without their help."
Kim said "My family situation has molded me into what I am. I want to do well for myself and to show my parents that everything they sacrificed for me will pay off. I couldn't have done what I did without the unconditional love and support my parents have shown me the entire 17 years of my life."
Here are the various winners:
First: Sandra Kim, McKinley
Second: David Clark Anderson, Radford
Third: Kristyn Kitabayashi, Mililani
Finalists: Nicole E.K.F. Lim, Iolani; Zachary Brandon Stone, Punahou
First: Kit Kenzo Okimoto, Iolani
Second: Rachel Asuncion, Kamehameha
Third: J.P. Barboza, Punahou
Finalists: Melissa Jann Johnson, Hilo; Jayme Yukie Uchida, Castle
Computer Science & Technology
First: Makana Seth Anicas, Waiakea
Second: Yui San Ho, Kaimuki
Third: Bei Li, Kalani
Finalists: Craig David Oyama, Iolani; Matthew K. Shaw, Konawaena
First: Catherine Cachero, Farrington
Second: Marlayna Gail Vaaler, Radford
Third: Richard Andrew Malins, Iolani
Finalists: Jenny Napua Leong, Kamehameha; Julia Kaiulani Nelson, Punahou
First: Angelina Amian, Moanalua
Second: Malika Dudley, Hilo
Third: David Hu, Punahou
Finalists: Kaipo Ikamoto, Kamehameha; Shaun Imada, Iolani
First: Puakahiki Kau'i Kaina, Hilo
Second: Andrew Kulani 'Akahi, Kamehameha
Third: Kapuanani Nalimu, Waiakea
Finalists: Tiana Marie Alcoran, Konawaena; Micah Komine, Kalani
First: Patrick Lulick Feng, Waiakea
Second: Joanne Mika Hayashi, Kalani
Third: Derrick Masami Ching, Mililani
Finalist: Matthew Man Ho Ying, McKinley; Michael Cacal Young, Radford
First: Camilla Kwai Lin Lau, Iolani
Second: Suzanna Hahan, McKinley
Third: Leotaro Weitzenhoff, Punahou
Finalists: Sheryl Suk Ling Lau, Kaimuki; Jordan K.Y.F. Lee, Kamehameha
First: Bradford Lee, Iolani
Second: Brad Yukio Shimizu, Roosevelt
Third: Jaime Saya Lachmann, Punahou
Finalist: Nathan M. Momohara, Kauai; Tara Lei Tomoyasu, Pearl City
First: Lizhou "Lisa" Wang, Iolani
Second: Roy Kuniaki Esaki, Punahou
Third: Sandy Chien Hui Liang, Sacred Hearts
Finalist: Franchette T. Pascual, Waimea; Nel Cevallos Venzon, Jr., Konawaena
First: Diana Millicent Leong, Mid-Pacific
Second: Stanley Pai Chang, Iolani
Third: Benjamin Arthur Curlee, Punahou
Finalist: Marci Ai Furutani, Kauai; Rebekah L. Tanimoto, Waiakea
Speech & Drama
First: Stacey Rose Pulkmano, McKinley
Second: I Chieh (Ruby) Ho, St. Andrew's Priory
Third: Kathryn Emily Eagar, Baldwin
Finalists: Kennly Asato, Mid-Pacific; David Seiyei Wakukawa, Iolani
First: Anna Therese Duvall, Baldwin
Second: Milfer Juan Araneta, Mililani
Third: Huy Cong Van, Farrington
Finalists: Daniel Chapman, Punahou; Melissa DeSica, Kailua