DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jaime Kataoka received an HMSA Kaimana scholarship yesterday during a banquet at the Koolau Golf Club.
Teen's success would make dad proud
Jaime Kataoka excels after her father's killing by a co-worker in 1999
A crazed gunman ended Ronald Kataoka's life more than six years ago, but no act of violence could destroy the influence the devoted dad already had on his young daughter.
Now 18, Jaime Kataoka will leave her Mililani home soon and head off to college in California with a long list of accomplishments in music, tennis and volunteering -- all seeds planted by her father.
On Nov. 2, 1999, Ronald Kataoka, 50, and six other Xerox Corp. employees were gunned down by co-worker Byran Uyesugi in a Nimitz Highway office building.
Jaime does not like to talk about that day, but her father is still a big part of her life.
"I just want to make my dad proud," she says.
She has given him and her mom, Lynn, plenty of reasons for pride.
Yesterday, she was awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Hawaii Medical Services Association Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program. It is one of five athletic and academic scholarships she earned.
After the death of her father, who helped teach her to play the piano, Jaime immersed herself in music, later becoming the first-seat violinist of the Mililani High School symphony orchestra.
"I'm able to express myself through music, which has always been my No. 1 passion," she said.
Jaime also turned her childhood memories of playing tennis with her father into a lifelong sport, joining her high school tennis team.
"She was my most valuable player this year," coach May Ann Beamer said. "She is very disciplined and determined to be the best."
Beamer noted the advanced skill level that Jaime showed as a freshman three years ago. A few months into her first season, Jaime was promoted to the varsity team, where she became co-captain by her junior year.
Her swift hands and level-headed attitude helped qualify her for the state tennis championships in Kauai this year, Beamer said. She joined her high school's championship team while competing in the doubles tennis match.
As her greatest fan, her mother is at every tennis match.
"Despite everything that has gone on in her life, she managed to pull together," Lynn said.
Lynn, who worked as a Xerox trainer for 20 years, said she also enjoys volunteering with her daughter for various charities -- a family tradition since her husband was alive.
Jaime and her parents often participated in the Xerox Community Involvement Program when she was in elementary school. They spent their weekends making sack lunches for the homeless and walking in numerous charity fundraisers, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, said Lynn, herself a breast cancer survivor.
"It's such a good feeling to give and not receive anything in return," Jaime said. "I feel like I'm doing my part."
Jaime will continue to play tennis and the violin at San Jose State University, where she plans to begin a double major in psychology and nutrition in August.
"This is a bittersweet time because I wish my husband was here to see her," Lynn said.
"I have been pushing myself to do these things for him," Jaime added. "We have a lot of pictures around the house of my dad. ... I plan to take them with me to San Jose."