Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship
In 1953, Violet Tokie Niimi was crowned the 1st Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. Although she passed away in 2001, her legacy lives on through the generosity of her son, Dr. Scott Oishi. Since the festival was dear to her, and because she was a lifelong educator, Dr. Oishi felt a scholarship award would be the ideal way to honor the memory of his mother.
The Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award was established in 2002. A committee of judges will select a Queen Contestant based on her educational excellence, essay submission, character, and community service efforts. The recipient of this award will use the $5,000 scholarship to continue her education.
This year's Recipient
66th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee Colette Masunaga
"As the daughter of a coffee farmer from South Kona on Hawaiʻi Island and a graduate of Konawaena High School, I am proud of my public education. It provided me with a strong academic foundation and the opportunity to succeed as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis and now as a graduate student. Such opportunity is invaluable, and as a beneficiary of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship, I have been able to enrich my academic experiences and further challenge myself to succeed through education. As I pursue my Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Hawaiʻi, Shidler College of Business, I am humbled and grateful for the support of Dr. Scott Oishi and the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship, which continues to perpetuate a legacy of educational excellence and community service within the Cherry Blossom Festival."
65th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee Heather Omori
"Since I was a little girl, my parents taught me the value of education. From graduating with my bachelor’s degree in psychology and earning my masters degree in elementary education, I have always seen the importance and benefits of going to school. With the help of Dr. Scott Oishi and the Violet Niimi Oishi scholarship, I can continue to gain new tools by getting a National Board Certification to improve my teaching practice, and I am thankful and grateful for the support in furthering my education. As an educator, I strive to inspire my students to stay in school and pursue a career in a field that they will love and use to help others. The theme for the 65th Cherry Blossom festival, “Kokoro,” heart, mind, and spirit, embodies Dr. Scott Oishi’s kindness and support for the Cherry Blossom Festival and young women who aspire to further their education."
64th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"The theme of the 64th Cherry Blossom Festival, “Kansha” or gratitude, truly describes the feeling I experienced as the 2016 Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship recipient. This award allows me to continue my education beyond the confines of a classroom. After earning my Masters in Social Work, I began working as a substance abuse counselor, where I am working towards becoming a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. This continued learning provides me with the opportunity to actively engage the population I work with and better serve my community. I am very grateful for Dr. Scott Oishi’s generosity and continued support that enables me to perpetuate Violet Niimi Oishi’s legacy as a life-long learner."
63rd Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"The themes for the 63rd and 64th Cherry Blossom Festivals, Mirai e no Kakehashi, Building Bridges for the Future, and Kansha, Gratitude, perfectly describe my experience as the Violet Niimi Scholarship recipient this past year. I cannot even begin to express in words my gratitude for Dr. Scott Oishi’s endless generosity and for his continued support of the Festival, helping the young professional women that participate each year achieve their goals of higher education in his mother’s memory. As an aspiring physician who hopes to one day practice in Hawaii, I have just completed the process of applying for and interviewing with medical schools. Thanks to Dr. Oishi and the Violet Niimi Scholarship, I am one step closer to realizing my dream to attend the John A. Burns School of Medicine and becoming a medical student in a state that celebrates the many cultures that coexist here, my home. I hope to one day build a bridge for the future and show my gratitude for Dr. Oishi's generosity by paying it forward and making it my mission as a practicing physician to offer available and affordable healthcare to the underserved communities of Hawaii."
62nd Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"It has been such an honor to be the recipient of the 2014 Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award. This opportunity will allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. Through the 62nd Cherry Blossom Festival theme, Issho Ni or "together," I have seen first hand how working "together" makes anything possible. This award has inspired me to become on the many helping hands to make a positive impact in the world. Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant has really made an impact on my life and inspired my desire to make a difference and lend a helping hand. I am so grateful fo Dr. Scott Oishi for his continued generosity and support of the Violet Nimii Oishi Scholarship program."
61st Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"As the 2013 recipient of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship, I am grateful for the opportunities this award has offered me. With the support of the Cherry Blossom Festival and the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Program, I have started my graduate studies in the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Program at the Hawaii School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. As I pursue my dream of becoming a clinical child psychologist, my goal is to extend support to children and families who might need a helping hand. Through the 61st Cherry Blossom Festival theme of Laulima, I have learned the power and possibility of “many hands working together” and I hope to inspire this spirit in others by giving back to the community. I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Scott Oishi for his continued generosity in helping young women to further their education and pursue their passion. I am honored and humbled to receive the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship because it embodies the spirit of Laulima and perpetuates the value of giving back."
60th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
59th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"It has been an honor to have been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award. Improving the quality of life for my patients has been the primary focus of my practice as a hospice and palliative care nurse. This award has enabled me to continue acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the best possible care for my patients by continuing my postgraduate education. It ha also enabled me to perpetuate last year's theme of "Okage Sama De," or "I am who I am because of you," by using this acquired knowledge to care for the people within my community. I would not be who I am today without the guidance, opportunities and support received from others. I would like to thank Dr. Scott Osihi for his inspiring generosity and this opportunity provided by his continued support of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship program."
58th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"It was truly an honor to be the recipient of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award. It is my dream to help Hawaii have a stronger and more sustainable community and I believe that will be achieved by empowering the children of Hawaii. Knowledge is power, and through the generosity of Dr. Scott Oishi, I am grateful to have the opportunity to further my education and obtain my Master’s degree."
57th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"Through the generosity of Dr. Scott Oishi, I will pursue my Master's degree in English literature at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Books have always played an important role in my life, and I look forward to sharing my love of the written word with others through education and through one day publishing a novel of my own."
56th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"As a second grade student at Heeia Elementary School, I aspired to become an elementary school teacher. Since then, I have returned to my alma mater to teach first grade in my very own classroom. As an educator, I strongly believe in being a life-long learner and empowering students to become life-long learners as well. Although I thought my dream had truly been fulfilled, my passion for education did not end there. The Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award has given me the opportunity to continue my education. I intend to attain my Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum Studies at the University of Hawaii. I now live each day knowing that dreams are possible. With Dr. Scott Oishi's tremendous generosity and continued support of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I am excited to continue living out my dream."
55th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"It was an honor to be the recipient of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award in 2007. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Scott Oishi for his generosity and continuous support of the Cherry Blossom Festival. As a student in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa this scholarship has helped me pursue my goal of becoming an elementary school teacher. I am looking forward to my graduation in Spring 2008 and to pursuing my master's degree in curriculum studies. As a future teacher, I feel that my experience in the Cherry Blossom Festival will enable me to encourage my students to embrace their cultural identity and help them understand the importance of community service."
54th Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
53rd Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"The meaning and value of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship deepens as my involvement with the Cherry Blossom Festival and court grows. As the 2005 recipient of the scholarship, I want to publicly thank Dr. Oishi for his commitment and dedication to his mother, this festival, and philanthropy. As I stood on stage last March at Festival Ball, the words of my speech came out from the deepest part of me as I recounted how my mom and donors to educational institutions made sacrifices that opened a world of opportunities. Philanthropists have had an immeasurable impact on my life, and Dr. Oishi is one of those people.
At the conclusion of our reign as 53rd Cherry Blossom Festival Court, I will be using the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship to do volunteer work in the developing world. I am currently seeking opportunities to assist nonprofit and non-governmental organizations in their efforts to increase access to education and health care for the world's poorest children and secure human rights for women. Through my experience in the developing world and my own work with nonprofit organizations in Hawaii, I will begin research for graduate school where I plan on focusing on improving efficiency and effectiveness of nonprofit organizations.
I am particularly grateful and proud to have received the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship because it allows me to expand on the incredible experiences I had as a contestant and court member. The volunteer work that this scholarship enables me to do will forever become linked with the Cherry Blossom Festival and all it means to me - charity, goodwill, hospitality, and heritage."
52nd Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
51st Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Awardee
"Participating in the Cherry Blossom Festival ranks as one of the most memorable experiences of my life. The pinnacle of my experience was receiving the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship. I feel both honored and blessed to be the second recipient of this scholarship. This scholarship, provided through the generosity of Dr. Scott Oishi in honor of his mother, Violet Niimi Oishi, has helped me pursue my goal of becoming a doctor of medicine. I am currently enrolled at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa. My education will provide me with the training and foundation I need in order to become a primary care physician. I hope that one day I will be able to give back to the community of Hawaii through my services as a physician."