100 years

Strengthening Hawai‘i’s Communities
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Restoring Hope in Students

Keeping Connections with Health Care Providers Strong

Calistra Hawkins was in the middle of her senior year at Maui High School when the pandemic hit. She was making $11 an hour at Jamba Juice and her mother was going through a divorce. Suddenly, she was furloughed and her mother’s hours as a restaurant server were significantly cut. Money became tight and she, her sister and mother were cooped up in their 700-square-foot home. “It was draining and took away my motivation,” says Hawkins. But the honor roll student persevered and was determined to graduate and go on to college.  

Hawkins was one of 370 public high school graduates in the state to receive a Stronger Together Hawai‘i Scholarship. The $2.4 million fund, started by HCF and First Hawaiian Bank, ensured that Hawai‘i youth could achieve their college and career goals for the year—despite the pandemic’s economic effects. On average, students received $6,200 in scholarships, which could be used for tuition and other educational costs, with about 35 percent of those students from neighbor islands.  

Hawkins is now pursuing a psychology degree at University of Hawai‘i Maui College and is on track to become the first in her family to graduate college. Without the scholarship, she says she would have had to work full-time to afford tuition, making studying more difficult.  

Along with tuition, the scholarship allowed her to purchase a laptop and tablet. “That helped a lot now that everything’s online,” she says. The 18-year-old hopes to work with young adults, helping them through difficult times like the one she just overcame.

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