The Pauahi Foundation – the fundraising arm of Kamehameha Schools – has awarded over $700,000 in college scholarships to more than 200 students, a 20 percent increase in total dollars awarded from the previous year.
“The majority of these scholarships are funded by generous donors and partner organizations,” said Tara Wilson, director of Advancement at Kamehameha Schools. “We are grateful for their support and commitment to uplifting our lāhui through education.
“In total, the Pauahi Foundation and Kamehameha Schools awarded over $15.8 million towards ensuring that Native Hawaiians have access to post-high education,” added Wilson. “Our goal is to increase the completion rate of Native Hawaiians pursuing a post-secondary education by 21 percent statewide by year 2020.”
Scholars, donors and KS staff members recently gathered to celebrate a successful year at the foundation’s annual Ko‘olua Reception held at the Ka‘iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama.
Many of this year’s scholars are the first in their family to attend college. Some are considered “non-traditional” students who delayed their enrollment or took a break from college before returning to finish their degrees. One such student – William Crowell – shared his story at the scholarship reception.
One scholar’s story
2008 Kahuku High School graduate William Crowell put his college plans on pause twice over the past decade so he could work and care for his a family. After high school, he pursued a degree in political science at Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i.
With just two semesters left till graduation, he stopped because he just could not afford it. He secured a job as a ramp service worker at United Airlines with the goal of strengthening his finances before returning to school. In the process, he moved out of his childhood home and got married.
“Essentially, reality hit and I had to grow up quickly,” said Crowell. “I eventually regained financial stability and went back to school to finish my undergraduate degree.”
A year has passed, and thanks to the help of the foundation’s Joseph Nāwahī Scholarship, Nanea Scholarship, and William S. Richardson Commemorative Scholarship – he will finally be able to pursue his dream of earning a law degree at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
“I want to use my knowledge and expertise to help my Hawaiian people, as well as others in need, bringing them justice and helping them advance in life during challenging times.”
Crowell also envisions creating a mentorship program for Hawaiian keiki, minorities and other underprivileged children to guide them throughout their educational careers.
Pauahi Foundation scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 academic year will be available online starting in January 2018. Visit www.pauahi.org for more information.