Hawaii's Super Students
Saturday, August 24, 1996

Name: Lauren Okamoto
Age: 17
School: Leilehua High
Pastimes: Playing the ukulele and piano, basketball
Future: Doctor

Big goal: A cancer cure

Lauren Okamoto wants to find a cure for cancer, having watched an aunt die of the disease.

With that goal and her love for science, Okamoto plans to go to University of California at Los Angeles to study pre-medicine.

"I enjoy the freedom to investigate a lot of things - everything's in science, like the way we live, how our bodies work."

A science project she did on Mycorrhizal fungus and its effects on plants placed third in the district science fair and best in botany at the state level, earning her a trip to the International Science Fair this year.

Chemistry teacher Robert Keane said Okamoto is an "exceptionally good student."

"She has a natural ability in science, a real gift for it," he said.

The daughter of Nelson and Beatrice Okamoto of Wahiawa calls herself a "busy body."

"If I don't do things, I feel like I'm unproductive."

She is in the National Honor Society, band and on the bowling team. Okamoto was the student body vice president and will be senior class president in the fall.

She was named the school's most outstanding student in English, biology and trigonometry this year.

Okamoto said she usually studies until 2 a.m. to maintain a 4.0 grade-point average.

"Hard work does pay off. If you put your mind into it, it all works well in the end."

Jenny Tom, Star-Bulletin

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