The Florin Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League honored five outstanding students attending schools in the Sacramento area as recipients of its 2016 scholarship awards. The event was held on May 14 at the annual Scholarship Recognition and Manzanar Reunion Ice Cream Social.
Each applicant was judged on achievements in academics and scholastic honors; extracurricular 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 2016 Florin JACL Scholarship winners include four graduating high school seniors and one college student. This year’s scholarships were presented in honor of individuals or groups that have contributed significantly to Florin JACL through leadership, service and monetary donations.
The chapter is pleased to award this year’s recipients:
Breana Mayumi Inoshita, daughter of Robert and Laura Inoshita of Stockton, is a University of California, Davis, student double majoring in Asian American Studies and Community and Regional Development.
Inoshita has been involved in JACL activities in Stockton and Lodi since her youth, and during her sophomore year at UC Davis, became active in the Florin JACL chapter as a leadership intern.
During her tenure as the UCD intern, she helped design and secure funding for a Manzanar Ambassador Scholarship Program, and worked on several chapter committees including the Time of Remembrance, Manzanar Pilgrimage, Facebook co-administrator and Civil and Human Rights.
Inoshita attended the National JACL Convention in 2015 as a chapter delegate, participated in the Kakehashi Japan exchange program in March and was recently selected as a Northern California Cherry Blossom princess.
With an interest in Japanese language and culture, she attended the Sakura Gakuen Japanese language classes at the Sacramento Betsuin and studied Japanese classical dancing, Nihon Buyo, for many years. At age 16, she tested and earned her professional name in the Bando style of classical dancing.
She is also actively involved in many human and civil rights organizations and intends to attend law school specializing in civil rights law or environmental law. It is fitting that she was awarded the Mark Merin Civil Rights Scholarship. Paul Masuhara, an associate of Mark Merin, presented the award to Inoshita.
Brian T. Ishisaka, son of Denis and Lesly Ishisaka, will graduate from the C. K. McClatchy High School Humanities and International Studies Program (HISP) in June. He will attend Boston University.
Ishisaka’s honors include Metro League championships in varsity cross-country track and tennis, and a national honor patrol award in Boy Scout Troop 50. Active in high school sports, he was captain of the varsity men’s tennis team and the C. K. McClatchy junior varsity basketball team, as well as a member of the varsity cross-country team and varsity basketball teams.
In addition, he is the co-founder and president of the C. K. McClatchy Book Club, staff writer and photo editor of the school newspaper, The Prospector, and student representative on the School Site Council.
He has played basketball with the Sacramento Rebel Basketball organization since 2011, and served as an assistant coach at the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation “Basic Hoops” camp. He has also helped as a referee for the Sacramento Buddhist Church E Division League since 2012.
Ishisaka attended Jan Ken Po Japanese cultural program from first-sixth grade. In addition, he has been in the scouting program at the Sacramento Buddhist Church since 2003, starting as a Cub Scout in Pack 50; he recently earned his Eagle Scout rank. For his Eagle Scout project, Brian directed the construction of a teaching center cart for the third grade class, for which he served as a teacher assistant for the past four years.
For his dedication to helping coach and teach younger children, Ishisaka was awarded the JoAnne Iritani Community Education Scholarship.
Kenji Justin Lo, son of Kien and Robin Lo, will graduate from J. F. Kennedy High School, where he has been active in the Program in American and California Explorations (PACE) program and the California Scholarship Federation. He has chosen to attend the University of California, Davis, in the fall.
Among his accomplishments, Lo participated in the Poetry Out Loud competition and played on the varsity golf team, where he was a team leader and was awarded MVP during the fall 2013 season. As president of the Japanese Culture Club and Japan Trip Club, he helped organize a trip to Japan in 2015.
His community involvement includes helping with Pocket Little League, Sacramento United Methodist Church basketball program and the Sacramento Aloha Festival.
He attended and participated at Jan Ken Po Gakko as a student and teacher’s aide and recently created a video on the traditional method of making mochi.
Lo also has been part of the Florin JACL community since childhood, participating along with his grandparents, Stan and Christine Umeda, at the annual Mochi Madness, Nikkei Dogs and Spaghetti Bingo Night fundraisers, Time of Remembrance, the Manzanar Pilgrimage and other events as a helper and supporter. Because of his participation in the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser in which the late Bob Uyeyama was very involved, Lo was awarded the Bob Uyeyama Community Service Scholarship, which was presented to him by Mrs. Uyeyama.
Alexis P. Louie, daughter of Scott and Diane Enomoto Louie, has been participating in Florin JACL activities for many years and states that the Manzanar Pilgrimage during her freshman and junior years of high school and the Angel Island trip were among her most meaningful.
Louie will graduate from the J. F. Kennedy High School PACE program, where she is an AP Scholar, National High School Scholar, and National Honor Society and California Scholarship Federation member. She is also in the Interact Club, Japan Trip Club and served as president of Lilu. Lilu members sew original handbags to support foster children.
In addition, Louie has earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards in the Girl Scouts program and has been an artBEAST summer camp assistant, as well as an ACC Nursing Home volunteer.
Her family has hosted numerous Japanese exchange students over the years and because of her wonderful experiences with them, she traveled to Matsuyama with her JFK Japanese Club during the summer of 2015 and stayed several days with a host family. The exchange experience moved her to apply for the Rotary Youth Exchange program for which she was accepted. Louie will defer a year of college to live in Japan and immerse herself in the Japanese culture and language.
Louie was awarded the Mike Staley Community Service Scholarship, which was presented to her by Staley’s son, Benjamin Staley.
Kevin S. Louie, son of Scott and Diane Enomoto Louie, and twin brother of Alexis Louie, is an academic honor student in the J. F. Kennedy High School PACE program, where he will graduate with a overall GPA of 3.9. He will attend the University of California, Los Angeles.
Among his achievements, Louie played on the junior varsity and varsity soccer teams, participated in JV and varsity track and field and played on a Greenhaven Soccer team. He also played church basketball from 2012-16.
He is a member of the California Scholarship Federation, the Interact Club and received the Outstanding PACER Award in 2014 and the AP Scholar Award in 2015.
His community involvement includes volunteering at the ACC Nursing Home and Florin Buddhist Church food bazaars. During summer 2015, he traveled to Peru to help render community service, as well as helped coach boys’ basketball teams.
It is fitting that Louie was recognized to receive the Sacramento Nikkei Singles Academic Excellence Award presented to him by President Clifford Lee.