OAA Accepting Applicants for High School Scholarship

From left: Ryan Tokumoto, Caden Shimane, Dylan Higa, Kanoa Kakihara’s father Craig, Courtney Sugano, and OAA President Edward Kamiya. Recipient Marshall Nakada is not pictured. (Photo by Sadao Tome)

Every year, the Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) in Gardena recognizes and rewards graduating high school seniors of Okinawan descent (OAA members only).

The selection process is based on the student’s academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, community contributions, transcript, essays, letters of recommendation, and financial need. Special consideration is given for community hours at the OAA.

The application must be postmarked by Friday, June 2, or delivered in person by 4 p.m. on June 2.

The organization’s scholarship, a tradition that dates back to the 1930s, is for children with Okinawan ancestry. To be eligible, the applicant must be a graduating high school senior (Class of 2023) in Southern California* who will attend college in the 2023-2024 academic year. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0 and their parent(s)/legal guardian(s) must be current OAA member(s) at the family level. *Exception given to members outside of the area who actively participate with OAA.

The scholarships are awarded at the OAA’s Annual Picnic, which also started in the 1930s. After being held at Elysian Park for decades, the event has since been moved to Whittier Narrows Recreation Park in South El Monte. During the pandemic, the organization hosted live online events in place of the picnic with virtual Bon dancing and awarded scholarships to a total of 20 students.

The OAA is planning to host this year’s picnic in person on July 16 (subject to change) and scholarship recipients are asked to participate in the event’s awards presentation.

Interested applicants are asked to contact the OAA at (310) 532-1929 (leave a message) or [email protected] for the application. If mailing the documents, it is the responsibility of the applicant to inform the OAA office about submission and follow up to confirm delivery.

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