Jayvimar A. Arellano is the recipient of the top Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation scholarship award. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Arellano poses with Kari Waldhaus, scholarship chair of North Hawaii Rotary Club, and his parents. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Jayvimar A. Arellano has much to celebrate. The Hawaii Rotary Club awarded the Kohala High School senior graduate a $10,000 scholarship — only one of two students in the state to receive the top Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation scholarship award.
“We are so proud of Jayvimar and so excited that he received this scholarship,” said Kari Waldhaus, scholarship chair of North Hawaii Rotary Club. “It almost always goes to an Oahu student, so this is a big deal.”
Waldhaus, who has been on the scholarship committee for three years now, said the process for choosing student applicants is quite involved. She explained that on the Big Island, North Hawaii has only one Rotary Club in Waimea with 36 members. However, all schools from Honokaa to Kohala as well as home-schoolers and students who live in the area (but study in other places,) are eligible for the scholarship.
As a comparison, Kona has three Rotary Clubs for four schools. Hilo has five Rotary Clubs for about five or six schools. And the majority of scholarship funds collected from the North Hawaii Rotary Club are generated at their annual Oktoberfest fundraiser.
In order to obtain a scholarship, a student must be sponsored by their area Rotary Club, who is then selected to go on to the district level.
“We need to be strategic,” said Waldhaus. “If one of our students is selected, the Rotary scholarship becomes void if they get a full-ride scholarship. It is then up to the district level to choose who the scholarship goes to. In the past we have seen scholarships go to other schools. We wanted to make sure that Jayvimar got the $5,000 scholarship, but we are so happy that he got the $10,000.”
Choosing a scholarship applicant is rigorous, as a student must be well rounded in academics, leadership, in-school activities, extra-curricular activities and community service. They must also submit references from non-family members as well as a personal statement. Also taken into consideration are a student’s grades, SAT scores and financial need.
“We may have a powerful student, but they must also have high financial need so that our scholarship may help them overcome this hardship,” Waldhaus said. “When we looked at Jayvimar’s application, he had all of these things.”
Now that Arellano has graduated, he expressed relief at completing high school. He was definitely a leader for his senior class; he was student body president, president of the Leo Club, National Honor Society president and the Student Credit Union president.
“High School has prepared me for college. I plan to attend UH-Manoa, and then, it’s stress again,” said Arellano with a laugh.
Planning to major in secondary education, Arellano said he aims to become a math teacher and return to Kohala School to teach. As president of the student Credit Union, he helped students open accounts, offered financial services, balance their checkbooks and learn the purpose of a credit score.
“I’m so grateful for the scholarships I have received,” said Arellano. “It will at least let me concentrate fully on my first semester. In my second semester, I can apply for a teller job at the credit union on campus.”
The scholarships he has received include a $500 grant from North Hawaii Rotary Club, the $10,000 grant from Hawaii Rotary Youth Foundation, a $1,000 scholarship from the Hawaii Community Credit Union, and another $1,000 from the Kohala Ditch Educational Fund.
Arellano thanks everyone, including the Rotary Club for his scholarships, and said it keeps him from having to take out any loans for his first college year. He credits his family for being his backbone and for helping him reach his greatest potential.
“My father has held two jobs ever since I was born,” Arellano said. “He has helped me so much, and taught me a great work ethic which has helped me be who I am today.”
North Hawaii News congratulates Jayvimar Arellano.