On December 5, 2020, the alohahawaiionipaa.org Scholarship Committee conducted an on-site interview of well-qualified high school applicant Amanda Flores-Gutierrez, and awarded her a four-year college scholarship starting with the school year 2021-22 at a minimum of $2,000/year plus $500 immediate Covid-19 assistance.
Being of Hawaiian, Filipino, Cuban, Black, and German ethnicity, Amanda is still almost one-fourth Hawaiian and still remembers with fondness her Native Hawaiian grandmother’s cooking and connection to her culture from stories that taught her to be strong, resilient and be proud of her Hawaiian heritage.
The committee was impressed that Amanda, as a student from a single parent household almost from birth, had already worked for the last three years part-time as a way to get her closer to paying for college, in addition to community volunteer work. Her compassion for others, leadership skills in group situations, and determination to succeed also gave her a glimpse of the real world and allowed her to acquire skills such as time and money-management for the often-difficult transition to adulthood.
Amanda prepared herself for College for the past seven years by being a part of the PUEO Program at Punahou. This program is geared towards assisting low-income students with the skills and drive to graduate from college. This past summer she already took both a college preparatory course as well as an English 100 class with the University of Hawaii at Manoa through the PUEO Program. Passing the classes with an A, she stated that it was due to the dedication of her professor and the hard work that she put in to completely understand the material given to the class. She also stated that she is truly indebted to the PUEO Program for making her think about college from such a young age, and giving her the tools and connections needed to be successful in both college and life.
Amanda stated that she would like to pursue a career in environmental sciences because it will give her the tools not only to fight for the human race but also for protecting beautiful ecosystems that have existed since before mankind. “Our ocean serves as more than just a beach, it’s a home for the coral, the algae, the turtles, and the fish. So many creatures depend on land that we see as disposable. When I think of all the ways that these animals interact with each other, it is so sad to think that we are destroying these habitats every single day. A degree in environmental sciences will give me the tools I need to find solutions to these problems that we currently face and to bring awareness to those who have the power to make change in our society.”
Alohahawaiionipaa.org will continue to support her in these endeavors.
(Scholarships are funded by like-minded individuals that believe in and support the missions of alohahawaiionipaa.org. Scholarship applications are accepted year-round.)