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First 2nd Century Scholar graduates

by Kalamalama staff



The first college graduate of an innovative scholarship program established by the Bank of Hawai‘i has earned her degree from Hawai‘i Pacific University and participated in the winter 2005 commencement ceremony.

Marisa Seril of Wahiawa was one of 100 high school students selected from around the state in 1997 to participate in the 2nd Century Scholars Program, one of the largest scholarship programs in Hawai‘i history.

“ Being set apart, nurtured, and invested in by Bank of Hawai‘i is something that has shaped and molded me as a viable individual,” said Seril. “The people I’ve been given the opportunity to work side-by-side with, because of my affiliation with the Bank of Hawai‘i 2nd Century Scholars Program, has had the biggest impact on my life.”

The eight-year, $5 million commitment to investing in Hawai‘i’s future leaders is the first of its kind. Established in honor of the bank’s 100th anniversary, the 2nd Century Scholars Program provided students from low- and moderate-income families the opportunity and support to successfully graduate from high school and attend an accredited four-year college of their choice. As college students, each scholar was eligible to receive up to $10,000 per year for four years.

“ It’s been a rewarding experience to watch these scholars grow from bright young minds to future leaders,” said Grace Kawano, program manager, Bank of Hawai‘i 2nd Century Scholars Program. “This is an exciting time for all of us – we’re thrilled to see the bank’s investment in Hawai‘i’s future beginning to pay off. Congratulations to Marisa for this tremendous achievement and for serving as a role model for Hawai‘i’s future generations.”

As a result of the 2nd Century Scholars Program, Seril has become the first in her family to earn a college degree. The Hawai‘i Pacific University graduate holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with honors.

“ From the first minute I stepped into the program, all I could feel were echoes of encouragement,” said Seril.

HPU Vice President for Student Support Services, Nancy Ellis, was one of the readers of the original applicants. Several HPU staff served as mentors to the selected students while they were still in high school, and the group spent some time in the residence halls on HPU’s windward campus to get a taste of college life.

“ I’d like to eventually give back to those who worked hard to shape and guide me,” added Seril.

"I want to live up to the highest expectations of not only my family and myself, but also of Bank of Hawai‘i.”



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