2020 East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai Scholarships awarded

  • Deren Nekoba

  • Carina Cook

The East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai awarded Waiakea High School seniors Carina Cook and Deren Nekoba each $1,000 scholarships for their excellence in academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular achievements.

A senior class valedictorian, Carina Cook was an active member of the WHS Key Club, Math League, Robotics Club, Class Council, National Honor Society, Student Government Association, Korean Club, Japanese Club and the Leo Club. Outside school, Cook volunteered at Heart Ranch and NexTech and was a youth delegate to Japan for the Fukuoka Kenjin Kai and the East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai.


Cook also received numerous awards such as being named an AP Scholar with Distinction, California-Nevada-Hawaii Member Recognition Program Recipient, and three-year award recipient of the Waiakea High School Academic Achievement and School Service Awards.

Cook was also a swim instructor for the Hilo Aquatics Club summer program and is a craft fair vendor at the Waiakea High May Day program and at Hilo Missionary Church.

Cook is the daughter of Sylvi and Vaughn Cook and will be double majoring in computer science and psychology at Creighton University in Nebraska in the fall.

Also a senior class valedictorian and the class of 2020 salutatorian, Nekoba was an active member of the WHS Class Council, Leo Club and Math League. He was on the WHS junior varsity baseball team and served as captain in the 2016-17 year, and is a former member of the Hilo Hongwanji Junior Young Buddhist Association.

Nekoba received the Basic Science/Engineering award for the Hawaii District Science and Engineering Fair in 2016, and won the Mu Alpha Theta Award, Basic Science Engineering Award, Mathematics Best in Subject Category Award and Achievement in Research in Psychological Science Award for his Senior Science Fair project in 2020.

Nekoba was a multi-year recipient of the Waiakea High Scholastic Achievement Award and Outstanding Service Award and was named an AP Scholar with Distinction. He also works part-time at the Hilo Lunch Shop.

Nekoba is the son of Lori and Darrell Nekoba and will be majoring in civil engineering at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he was awarded the University of Hawaii Provost Achievement Scholarship.


The scholarships are awarded to two deserving East Hawaii public or private high school seniors who will be attending an accredited college or university, registering as a full-time student in the fall 2020 semester.

Applicants demonstrate above average scholastic record and character and must be a child of an East Hawaii Hiroshima Kenjin Kai member in good standing.

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