Small World Preschool in Waimea awarded students Aleizha Ho’opai and Wai’aka Cook with the first Miss Natlee Memorial Scholarships for the 2014-15 school year.
Funding for the Miss Natlee Memorial Scholarship came from the Small World Preschool Annual Golf Challenge on Sunday, April 7, at the Hapuna Prince Golf Course. The tournament raised more than $10,000, which went directly to the Miss Natlee Memorial Scholarship and to help Small World Preschool students with financial aid.
“I told the golfers, ‘Remember the children that are here (at the school) – you are actually touching their lives,” said Pier Schutte, one of the Small World Preschool founders. “You are helping kids that would otherwise not be able to come here. The money is indeed a blessing.”
The memorial scholarship was named after Natlee Kimura Oshiro, one of the school’s founders, who died on Sept. 23 of this school year. The daughter of Samuel and Ella Kimura, she was born in Honokaa and raised in Waimea with her three
sisters, Elsa, Faye and Teri. Their father, Samuel Kimura, worked at Parker Ranch, and the four girls attended Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
Natlee Kimura Oshiro’s main purpose in college was to return to Waimea after she earned her degree in education and to teach preschool students in her hometown – building and solidifying their foundational education.
After 35 years in the community, Small World Preschool now has many second-generation students attending the school.
“We (are glad we) get to help someone that was born and raised here — it comes full circle that you can do something like that,” Schutte said.
Schutte said that many of the golfers who attended the tournament had their own special bond with Kimura Oshiro, and that some had known her for many years.
“All of the golfers are her personal friends,” Schutte said.
Schutte said the staff wanted to start the scholarship at the school so that more families would be able to attend the preschool they had once attended as children.
“It is amazing,” Schutte said. “Even though she is not here in the physical, it is almost that her death doesn’t have to be in vain. It can continue. It (the scholarship) is fulfilling her legacy.”
For more information or to donate to the Miss Natlee Memorial Scholarship, call the school at 885-4388.