The chapter recognizes the achievements of four outstanding high school students.
By Florin JACL Chapter
The Florin JACL chapter is pleased to announce its 2021 scholarship winners, all of whom are outstanding seniors attending Sacramento-area high schools. The recipients were recognized during a Zoom social program on May 16, which was held in lieu of the chapter’s annual in-person Ice Cream Social and Scholarship Presentation.
The 2021 Bring Your Own Ice Cream social, which was led by the chapter’s Josh Kaizuka, recognized the achievements of Devon Akiyama, Cara Ishisaka, Ryan Seo and Anna Kubokawa Vogtmann. In addition, the chapter also welcomed special guests Brandon Miyazaki, Kim Noguchi, Kaitlyn Toyama and Beth Uno, four past scholarship winners who reflected upon their achievements and current aspirations.
This year’s winners were each judged on achievements in academic and scholastic honors, extracurricular activities including leadership positions, community service, work history, Japanese cultural activities and JACL involvements as shown on their written application, letter of recommendation and personal interview.
The 2021 scholarship awardees are:
- DEVIN AKIYAMA, the son of George and Merri Akiyama, attends West Campus High School in
Sacramento. In addition to scholastic achievement awards, he was “key” to the establishment and management of Key Clubs (Kiwanis) in high schools throughout the greater Sacramento area. He also was founder and president of the campus Model United Nations Club and a member of the California Scholarship Federation SF, National Honor Society and MESA (Math, Engineering, Science and Achievement) clubs. At Florin Buddhist Church, he received two Tamazo Tanigawa Awards, the Sangha Award for Boys Scouts, attended the Nihon Gakko summer program and was an active member of the Junior YBA. He also attended Jan Ken Po Gakko for Grades 1-6, from which he developed an interest in the JA incarceration experience. As a Boy Scout, he received his Eagle Scout award by honoring with gratitude his grandfather, Ichiro Akiyama, and 100 years of the Florin Buddhist Church. His project to repair and repaint the aging outdoor kitchen was accomplished during Covid-19 restrictions. Akiyama plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley, and major in business with a minor in history. He hopes to take a management role in the field of business and continue his service to the Asian Pacific Islander community.
- CARA ISHISAKA is the daughter of Denis and Lesly Ishisaka and younger sister of former Florin JACL
scholarship winners Mika and Brian Ishisaka. She graduates with four years of Japanese language from the Humanities and International Studies Program at C. K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento. In 2019, Ishisaka reinstituted, co-founded and became vp of the Asian Pacific Islander Student Alliance to recognize and celebrate Asian Pacific cultural identities and issues. She also was team captain for CKM’s JV basketball team and is a member of the California Scholarship Federation. As a Girl Scout, she recently received her Gold Award, setting up an electronic book catalog and beautifying the Sacramento Betsuin library. In addition, she is a fourth year first-grade Dharma School TA at the Buddhist church of Sacramento and co-president of the Jr. YBA, she attended the Jan Ken Po Gakko Japanese cultural program for six years and returned as a TA for four more years and has been active in the Barons Basketball Organization, Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation and is Teens Create Dreams 2021 co-president. Ishisaka will be attending the University of Washington in the fall, studying psychology, with further goals of becoming a pediatrician.
- RYAN SEO, the son of Derek and Audrey Seo, is a graduate from Inderkum High School in Natomas. As
the grandson of Akio and Ruth Seo, he often attended and helped at the Florin JACL Nikkei Dogs Scholarship Fundraiser & Bingo Night and at Time of Remembrance events at the California Museum. He also participated in the Jan Ken Po Gakko cultural summer school for six years and has been active at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento in Boys Scouts, church basketball, sixth-grade Dharma School TA and helping in numerous ways with church events and facilities improvement. In addition, Seo has been affiliated with the Lodi JACL Templars baseball team helps with field work and umpiring games at the North Natomas Little League. Seo has decided to attend Sacramento City College and later transfer to a four-year university as an economics/finance major.
- ANNA KUBOKAWA VOGTMANN, the daughter of Russell and Keri
Kubokawa Vogtmann, graduates from Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom. A 12-year Girl Scout, she received her Gold Award for her research and development of a music memory program for Oakmont of Folsom, a memory care facility, where she developed a brochure highlighting music and memory and distributed 350 of them to several other memory care facilities to encourage the use of musical activities. Vogtmann stays busy with Girls Scouts, works as a server at a local retirement home, is the captain and leading runner of her school’s track and field team and has committed to the University of California, Irvine, on a track and field scholarship. Vogtmann plans to major in international studies with ambitions to someday work internationally, focusing on children and elderly needs.
Members of the Florin JACL Scholarship Committee are Chair Ruth Seo, Aileen Nishio, Jennifer Nishizaki-Ngo, Irene Uno and Karen Yamamoto.