The Florin-Sacramento Valley Chapter of the JACL honored five outstanding students as recipients of its 2018 scholarship awards on May 20 during its annual Scholarship Recognition and Manzanar Reunion Ice Cream Social.
This year’s honorees were judged on achievements in academics and scholastic honors; extra curricular activities including leadership positions, community involvement, work history and Japanese cultural activities; JACL involvement; and community service as shown in the written application, letter of recommendation and personal interview.
The chapter was pleased to present scholarships to one college undergraduate and four graduating high school seniors from the Sacramento area.
Blythe Nishi, daughter of Souris and Esperanza Nishi, currently attends the University of California, Davis, majoring in civil engineering. She serves as a student research assistant, president of the Nikkei Student Union, performing member of the Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan and Day of Remembrance programs. An active member of the Florin JACL, starting with her involvement with the Manzanar Ambassadors program at UC Davis, she helped coordinate and perform Japanese folk dancing at the Cultural Exchange program on the Manzanar pilgrimages. Nishi also supported several chapter events, including the Nikkei Dogs fundraiser, Mochi Madness and the Ice Cream Social. In 2017, she was selected to participate with other outstanding Nikkei youth in the Kakehashi program. Nishi plans on pursuing a master’s degree in architecture and civil engineering after earning her bachelor’s degree.
Koji Lo, son of Kien Lo and Robin Umeda, is a recent graduate of the John F. Kennedy High School PACE Program (Program in America and California Explorations), where he was active in the Japan Culture Club, Japan Trip Club and a member of the Varsity Golf Team since his freshman year. As president of the Japan Trip Club, he helped coordinate the trip between JFK and its sister city school in Ehime, Japan. Lo has also actively participated in the Florin JACL since childhood, attending and helping with his grandparents, Christine and Stan Umeda, with the Nikkei Dogs Scholarship and Youth Fundraiser, Nor Cal Time of Remembrance, Mochi Madness, Community Awards Luncheon and the Manzanar Pilgrimage. In addition to his school and JACL activities, Lo helped coach a basketball team at Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church and served as a Japanese language teacher at the Jan Ken Po Gakko summer cultural program. He plans on attending Sacramento City College and then transferring to the University of California, Davis, to study business.
Lindsey Maseba recently graduated from Consumnes Oaks High School in Elk Grove, Calif., where she excelled academically. Her scholastic honors included Special Congressional recognition, Honor Roll 2014-2018, Student Athlete Recognition and the National Honor Society. She was also actively involved in school leadership and athletics, serving as Student Government Dance Commissioner, varsity basketball team captain, Link Crew leader and was a member of the cross-country and track-and-field teams. In addition to her school activities, Maseba serves on the board of the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Strive for Strength, plays on the Barons basketball team, is active in the Sacramento Buddhist Church Jr. YBA and was a delegate to Japan in 2017 as an ambassador of the Young Buddhist International Cultural Exchange. As a member of the Florin JACL Next Generation Activists, she volunteered at the Nikkei Dogs Scholarship fundraiser and the Florin JACL Anniversary Luncheon. Maseba’s parents are Gus and Ellen Maseba. She plans on attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, as a double major in economics and environmental studies.
Sydney Takeda is a recent graduate of the John F. Kennedy High School PACE program, where she was awarded the Outstanding PACEr Award twice. She excelled academically in high school and actively participated in sports, community and church activities. The daughter of Glenn and Susan Honda-Takeda, she will attend the University of California, Los Angeles, as a physiological science major with plans to earn a PhD in physical therapy. While at JFK, Takeda participated in women’s varsity soccer, JV basketball, student government, California Scholarship Federation, National Honor Society, JFK Dog Lovers’ Club and Yearbook Sports Editor. She was also honored with the Congresswoman Doris Matsui Outstanding Public Service Award for her community service with the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation’s Strive for Strength and Teens Create Dreams programs. An active member of the Sacramento Buddhist Church, Takeda served as secretary and president of the Jr. YBA, kindergarten teacher assistant and youth minister assistant.
Allison Tanaka, daughter of Bobby and Elaine Tanaka, is a recent graduate of the John F. Kennedy High School PACE program, where she earned the JFK Athletic Scholar Award as a member of the JFK Swim team and her membership in the California Scholarship Federation and the National Honor Society. Tanaka also actively participated as a student leader throughout her years at JFK, serving as freshmen class secretary, sophomore class treasurer, junior class vice president and senior class president. From 2014-18, she participated in the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation Strive for Strength program. In addition, Tanaka is actively involved at the Sacramento Buddhist Church as a first-grade Dharma School teaching assistant, vp of the Jr. YBA and a youth minister assistant. She rose through the ranks as a Girl Scout and earned her Silver Award from Troop 569 in 2015. Tanaka plans on attending Seattle University.