Cassiday Denault from Waiakea, Gary Aquino from Keaau, Carlos Masuko from Kamehameha and Alec Ankrum from Kealakehe are the recipients of the Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph Fellowship.
They each received a $ 1,500 scholarship in honor of Joseph, a Waiakea teacher and coach who started the scholarships in 2006 and died of an aggressive form of brain cancer in 2013.
In making the selection, the student-athlete not only demonstrated a willingness to make the necessary sacrifices to excel in his running activities, but also strived for excellence in all aspects of academic and community endeavors.
Denault, who had a GPA of 4.0, has a lingerie list of athletic and academic achievements credited with running for teaching her self-discipline and time management while attending school, exercising, community service, extracurricular activities, and her own Balanced health during the coronavirus pandemic.
She intends to study environmental science, return to Hawaii, focus on sustainability and participate in the practical restoration of nature.
Her many highlights include second place in the high jump at the 2018 BIIF Championship, her membership in the National Honor Society and Denault was a three-year-old cross-country and athletics runner.
She worked as an intern for the UH-Hilo forest restoration experiment and as a pharmacy technician at KTA. Her internship was at the Liko na Pilina project, where she gained valuable knowledge about forest restoration research.
Her parents are both first-generation college graduates, and she wants to set an example for her younger sister.
“I spent much of my time and efforts trying to excel at academic performance, contribute to my local community, develop my leadership skills and extracurricular activities like running so that I could achieve my dream of college,” she said . “This scholarship would bring me closer to studying in an amazing program and chance to grow and define my adult self.”
Denault, who has been a competitive runner for nine years, said running made her physically strong, mentally strong, and a reliable teammate.
“My confidence and skills have had an impact not only on running, but also on organizing school-wide events and the presidency of my 4H federation,” she said. “I am very grateful that running has made it possible for me to live my life like myself.”
Aquino plans to become a nurse, inspired by the shortage of nurses during the pandemic. He hopes to help older people work on local boards and communities and organize fundraising campaigns for health-related purposes.
One of his greatest honors was membership of the National Honor Society in Keaau, where 180 students were invited to apply. Aquino was one of 11 selected.
He volunteered for charitable events like Make a Difference Day, Operation Christmas Child, Book Fair, Pet Drive, homeless shelter donations, masking and appreciation for teachers, all without a license at the time.
Aquino worked part-time at the Hilo Farmers Market, woke up at 4 a.m. and started an hour later to make money for future expenses like his tuition. He would be the first in his family to go to college.
It was a difficult entry into cross-country for Aquino, who passed out in his first race and was taken to the emergency room after suffering from heat stroke.
“That setback didn’t stop me from running,” he said. “It motivated me to push harder and persevere. Running will always affect my life because I have my courage and bravery to aim higher. Running will always be a part of my life and forever affect me to become a better person and hopefully inspire others. “
Masuko also wants to go into health care and give something back to the community. He plans to major in biology / premed and hopes to attend the John A. Burns School in UH-Manoa to become a general practitioner and care for underserved areas on the Big Island.
He was a high achiever in the classroom and made the Headmaster List (4.0 GPA or higher) with a cumulative GPA of 4.178.
Masuko worked as a four-year member in the areas of cross country, athletics, wrestling and the National Honor Society.
His parents are college graduates and Masuko will be a role model for his two younger brothers and sisters. He gained experience in the medical field through the UH-Hilo summer program.
“Running showed me how important consistency is when striving for goals,” he said. “It also introduced me to lifelong companions. Thanks to the persistence and dedication of my team, we were able to become BIIF champions for the first time in the history of our school. “
Ankrum plans to major in computer science, possibly in the direction of computer engineering or cybersecurity. He was an AP scholarship holder with distinction and in the MINT academy.
Ankrum started club running in third grade and won the BIIF cross-country title in the second year in 2018.
“Not only was the running itself fun, but it has brought clarity to my life by improving my social life, helping me meet new people and showing me how to properly channel my energy into something meaningful “, he said. “Running made me who I am today and I never plan to stop running for the rest of my life.”
Additionally, John Marrack, a Hilo graduate, received the Sunrise Athletic Association’s most inspirational award of $ 500.