Junior Achievement awards recognize outstanding students

  • Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island 2018-19 scholarship recipients, from left, Phoebe Furuli, Kekoa Gomes, Daniel Briski and Riezhelle Agpaoa.

  • Courtesy photo Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island’s 2018-19 high school Company of the Year, United Youth, was sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union.

Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island recently had its 39th annual Future Unlimited Awards Banquet to congratulate 60 high school students for successfully completing the JA Company Program.

Students from Hilo, Keaau, Kamehameha, St. Joseph and Waiakea high schools formed four companies this year, sponsored and advised by Big Island Toyota/Central Pacific Bank, HFS Federal Credit Union, HPM Building Supply/Bank of Hawaii and Na Leo TV.

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Through the course of the 14-week program, the four companies conceived, manufactured and sold more than $27,000 of product. With more than $11,000 in total sales, Maikai‘i Productions, sponsored by Big Island Toyota, was recognized for having the highest company sales.

Individual top sales performers distinguished for each selling more than $1,000 included Savannah Christensen, Tristen Cullio, Kekoa Gomes, Daniel Briski, Lialya-Romona Pinnow and Rysa Lee Dela Cruz.

The program, however, is not all just about sales and profit. Sponsoring firms also instill the value of community service in their employees.

The JA companies organized canned food drives, arranged beach cleanups, supported Toys for Tots collections and more.

This year’s winner of the Community Service Award was Maikai‘i Productions.

This marks the 30th year that JA awarded scholarships to select seniors participating in the program. The scholarships are funded by “profits taxes” assessed on the JA company earnings. This year, $3,500 in scholarships were awarded to four deserving participating seniors. The winners were Riezhelle Agpaoa of Keaau High School, Daniel Briski and Phoebe Furuli of Waiakea High School and Kekoa Gomes of Hilo High School.

The awards banquet culminated with presentation of the prestigious Company of the Year award. The award is based on several criteria including attendance and retention of employees, record keeping, return to stockholders, acquired knowledge, community service and the annual report presentation.

This year’s JA Company of the Year was United Youth sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union.

Thirty-seven men and women from the business community volunteered their time from September through December to advise the four company teams. In addition, many other community members served as judges and guest presenters during the program.

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In addition to the high school company program, Junior Achievement impacts nearly 4,000 East Hawaii elementary school students each year through in-class, age-appropriate volunteer- presented lessons about money, the economy and business.

To get Junior Achievement in your K-12 classroom or to get involved as a volunteer or sponsor, contact district manager Alan Shiraishi via email at jahilo@jahawaii.org.

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