Hilo Orchid Society awards scholarships to three UH Hilo students

Colin Conway and Matthew Dye are agriculture majors at the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. Paige Hamada is an environmental science major at the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

Colin Conway, Matthew Dye, and Paige Hamada
From left, Colin Conway, Matthew Dye, and Paige Hamada. Courtesy photos.

Three students at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo have received scholarships from the Hilo Orchid Society (HOS). The society’s Scholarship Committee selected Colin Conway, Matthew Dye, and Paige Hamada for the 2020-2021 Takasaki Memorial Scholarship. Each student receives a $3,000 scholarship for the academic year.

“The Takasaki Scholarship is annually awarded to two deserving students,” writes Shelly Nowaki, chair of the HOS Scholarship Committee, in an email announcing the recipients. “HOS felt it was vital to award an additional scholarship this year because Covid19 impacts have brought forth financial hardships on UHH students who would otherwise not return this Fall.”

Conway and Dye are agriculture majors at the College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. Hamada is an environmental science major at the College of Natural and Health Sciences.

The Takasaki Memorial Scholarship

Each year, the Hilo Orchid Society gives scholarships to students UH Hilo. the money is raised for the scholarships at the silent auction at the society’s annual orchid shows fueled by silent auction donors and bidders and the volunteers who run the event. As of 2020, HOS has awarded over $40,000 in scholarships.

The Takasaki Memorial scholarship is named in honor of Yasuji Takasaki, one of the pioneers of orchid culture and commercial orchid growing on Hawai‘i Island, work that is carried on today by his sons Sheldon and Gerrit.

“Unable to go to school beyond 8th grade, Yasuji made a promise that each of his children would go to college to have the opportunities that he never had,” according to a statement on the HOS website. “By working multiple jobs, he kept that promise. Eventually he founded Carmela Orchids and grew it into an internationally recognized orchid business. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 95.”

The statement continues, “Yasuji Takasaki believed in the power of education to help young people achieve their dreams. We are pleased to perpetuate that vision through the Yasuji Takasaki Memorial Scholarship.”

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