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Bill Imada (center) is pictured with Snake River scholarship recipients (from left) Erin Tanaka, Courtney Mio, Nicole Matsumura and Brian Heleker.

By P.C. Staff

The Snake River Chapter of the JACL held its 70th annual graduation banquet on May 4 at the Four Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Ore., to honor eight graduating high school students of Japanese descent and present scholarships and leadership grants.
The event’s keynote speaker was Bill Imada, who was born in Ontario and lived on the Oregon Slope as a child. Imada is the founder of IW Group, a full-service marketing and public relations agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

This year’s scholarship recipients included Ontario’s Nicole Matsumura ($3,000) and Erin Tanaka (3,000); Fruitland’s Ben Hinatsu and Courtney Mio ($2,000); Payette’s Brian Heleker ($2,000) and Keely Larimer; and Nyssa’s Jacob Huffman and Jade Takehara.

Leadership grant honorees, who were each awarded $400, included high school juniors AJ Breidenbach of Ontario, Kate Nishizaki of New Plymouth, Paige Takasugi of Wilder and Mika Takatori of Parma.