The 4×4.1 (GPA) club: Runners earn scholarships for their running spirit, high grades

  • Lilah Shapiro

  • Catherine Chow

  • Ella Johnson

  • Keaau's Leilani Stone

Keaau’s Catherine Chow and Leilani Stone, and Waiakea’s Lilah Shapiro and Ella Johnson all share a love of running, community service, and exactly the same 4.1 grade-point average, making them ideal candidates for the Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph scholarships.

Chow, the daughter of Jay and Cheryl Chow, will attend Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and major in nursing.

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More than anything, the scholarship of $1,500 was a confirmation for Chow, who ran cross-country for four years.

“Winning the scholarship validates the beliefs my coaches Greg Lum Ho and Donna Wong Yuen had in me,” she said. “Running is beyond more than a lifestyle.”

It’s a healthy way of living, and Chow plans to pay it forward.

“I’m hoping to give back to the community,” she said. “I got interested in nursing because I like the idea of being able to see positive change every day and make a difference in everyone’s life, to be healthy or provide comfort for them.”

Chow was an active volunteer in student government, high school, and community clubs with her church and helped victims of the 2018 lava flow through these groups.

Stone will attend UH-Hilo, pursue a career in medicine, and run cross country as a Vulcan.

She ran cross-country and track at Keaau, where she was also involved in the school’s STEM club.

Shapiro, the daughter of Daniel and Thea Shapiro, will attend Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., where she’ll major in environmental science.

She competed in cross-country and track at Waiakea and relied on running for stress relief when her family lost their home to the lava flow.

“I started in 10th grade on the track team and I had never run before and hated running,” she said. “But I fell in love with it and the next year I joined cross country and liked it even more.”

Her best experience was running at the cross-country HHSAA championships last November.

Growing up in Hawaii, everything connected for her. She’s interested in nature and loves teaching.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “I get to teach and do science and research.

“Running is a good stress reliever. I’ve had a really good support group and teammates.”

She’s also been dancing hula at Te Ha’a Lehua for the last 13 years and enjoys the connection between dancing and Hawaiian culture.

It probably helps that Lewis and Clark College sits on a 137-acre forested campus.

“It’s one of the best environmental studies for my major,” Shapiro said. “It’s a small, liberal arts college surrounded by nature, which I need.”

Ella Johnson, the daughter of Tracy Johnson and Donna Ohora, will attend Tufts University in Massachusetts and major in biology.

“One thing I was looking for in college was an institution that focused on liberal arts,” she said. “I can pursue a lot of different interests. They’re a great research university. I’m interested in biology.”

She participated in cross-country and track and was active in the Leo Club. She’s also a member of the Sunrise Athletics running club.

Like the rest, her best memories were being around her teammates.

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“Just in general, it was all the times spent with my teammates,” Johnson said. “I had a lot of fun memories with them.”

Editor’s note: This story has been modified to correct that the recipients were awarded Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph scholarships.

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