On April 22, 2017, the Berkeley Chapter celebrated Ron Tanaka as our chapter unsung hero at the JACL NCWNP District Awards Banquet and Celebration in Danville. Ron Tanaka is the chair and driving force behind Berkeley JACL’s robust scholarship program, which this year awarded 12 scholarships for incoming college freshmen.
The Berkeley JACL chapter awarded scholarships to 12 high school seniors and presented Pioneer Awards to Al Satake and Ranko Yamada during its April 30 awards luncheon held at Richmond Country Club in Richmond, Calif.
The chapter awarded scholarships to 12 high school seniors based upon their academic achievements, community involvement, school activities, work history, JACL involvement, written essay, letter of recommendation and group interview.
This year’s scholarship recipients are:
Martha Castro (College Prep High School) will attend Pomona College and major in molecular biology. She is also the recipient of the Dan/Kathleen Date Memorial Scholarship.
Hope Fa-Kaji (Berkeley High School) will attend Rice University and major in mechanical engineering.
Kelsey Hirota (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, San Diego, as a computer science major.
Rachel Hirota (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Davis, as an animal sciences major. She is also the recipient of the Carolyn Adams Family Scholarship.
Amelia Huster (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, as an undeclared major.
Kyra Kawamoto (Albany High School) will attend the University of Hawaii as a marine biology major.
Mia Li (College Park High School) will attend Seattle University and major in international business.
Akira Roueche (Berkeley High School) will attend California State University, Fullerton, and major in kinesiology.
Cailyn Sakurai (El Cerrito High School) will attend Chapman University as a biological science major.
Toshio Steimetz (Berkeley High School) will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, as an undeclared major.
Courtney Tamaki (Albany High School) will attend the University of California, Berkeley, as a genetic/genomic development major. She is also the recipient of the Terry Yamashita Memorial Scholarship.
Junko Taniguchi (Lowell High School) will attend Smith College as an undeclared major. She is also the recipient of the Bea Kono Memorial Scholarship.
Also during the awards luncheon, the chapter honored Al Satake and Ranko Yamada with its Pioneer Award, which recognizes those with the vision, compassion and energy to lay a foundation for building the Japanese American community into the active and vibrant one we share today, as well as linking past leaders with our future leaders.
In addition, the chapter recognized longtime major sponsors Union Bank (Dimitry Bokman), Wells Fargo Bank (Vance Oishi/Jonathan Shindo) and memorial scholarship donors from the Beatrice Kono family (George Kono), the Terry Yamashita family (Reiko Nabeta), the Dan/Kathleen Date family (Gail Yamamoto) and the Carolyn Adams Family.
Members of this year’s scholarship committee were Mark Fujikawa, Tiffany Ikeda, Lindsey Kuwahara, Vera Kawamura, Neal Ouye, Al Satake, Sharron Sue and Chair Ron Tanaka.