The Portland JACL is pleased to recognize two outstanding Nikkei students who were awarded national JACL scholarships in 2013: Kristi Fukunaga, now attending Willamette University and Laura Suzuki, a freshman at the University of Michigan.
Kristi, the daughter of Lori and Ray Fukunaga graduated from Wilson High School. She was awarded $5,000 from the Paul and Katherine Ohtaki Memorial Scholarship. The estate of Paul and Katherine Ohtaki established the scholarship. Mr. Ohtaki, a resident of San Francisco, was a successful businessman dedicated to the Nikkei community, filling many positions with his gentle and dignified leadership qualities. When incarcerated in camp as a teenager, he wrote articles for his hometown newspaper on Bainbridge Island, and is featured in the book titled "In Defense of Our Neighbors." Kristi had also been awarded a local scholarship in 2013 by the Portland JACL, the Mabel Shoji Boggs Scholarship.
Laura, the daughter of Nahoko and Keiichi Suzuki, graduated from Lakeridge High School. She was awarded $1,000 from the Patricia and Gail Ishimoto Memorial Scholarship. Harry and Tomoko Ishimoto established this scholarship in memory of their two daughters who passed away together in an auto accident in 1969. Laura was also the recipient of the Hide Naito Scholarship, a local scholarship administered by the Japanese Ancestral Society.
The JACL awards over $65,000 annually to entering freshman, college and graduate students, law, medicine, the performing arts and financial need. Scholarships are available to members of JACL. Applications are now open. Entering freshman applications must be postmarked by March 1, 2014 and mailed to the Portland JACL. All other applications (undergraduate, graduate, law, arts and student aid) must be postmarked and mailed to the JACL National Scholarship Committee in Washington, D.C.
The JACL also offers an opportunity for a student to attend Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. This is a two-year Global & Transcultural Studies Scholarship to a JACL youth member, who is currently a college sophomore and who would be applying applying as an incoming junior. The recipient of the Meiji Gakuin University – JACL U.S. – Japan Scholarship would receive an award that covers 70 percent of the college tuition. An additional grant that covers the remaining 30 percent may be awarded to the same recipient, if s/he meets the criteria for the Tuition Remission System for Privately Funded Full-time Foreign Students
Established in 1863 by Dr. James Curtis Hepburn, an American doctor and a missionary, MGU is one of the oldest universities in Japan. The university, located in Tokyo, consists of six faculties (schools); including the Faculty of International Studies that houses the Department of Global & Transcultural Studies (GTS). GTS has an all- English-speaking program, which selects a group of 50 students each year to develop a transcultural perspective on world affairs, a well-rounded understanding of new global trends and effective analytical and communication skills for careers in international contexts.
College costs have been increasing faster than the rate of inflation. The estimated annual cost of attending an Oregon state school hovers around $24,000 including tuition, books, room and board and miscellaneous expenses. A private school would be more than double that amount.
Students and their families need to be proactive about finding and applying for scholarships that will help them pay the prohibitive costs of obtaining an education.