Japanese American Graduation Banquet

Japanese American Graduation Banquet

Portland JACL Newsletter: June 2014 Issue
Board Member Marleen Wallingford

Graduating high school seniors of the class of 2014 were honored at the 67th annual community banquet on May 4th. Jeff Selby, 2008-2011 Portland JACL President, was the emcee. The invocation was given by Rev. Robin Yim of Epworth Methodist Church.

Our keynote speaker this year was Peggy Nagae, a sansei who grew up on a farm in Boring, Oregon. When she was a high school senior, she attended the graduation banquet and received a scholarship. She went on to graduate from law school and became the lead attorney in one of the landmark cases in Japanese American history, Min Yasui v. the United States. Little did she know when she attended the Day of Remembrance event in 1979 in Portland, that meeting Mr. Yasui would change the course of her life. She is now working towards getting him honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Portland JACL, Peggy Nagae

Ms. Nagae encouraged the students to follow their heart, "don’t let the voice of others opinions drown out your inner voice." She also told them to "learn and appreciate those who came before you." She did not realize as a young person, how much a product she was of her parent’s example and their hopes. As future leaders, she described how they should be a whole person leader.

The Oregon Nisei Vets gave the athletic trophies to Ken Carlson, Jesuit High School. Ken has excelled in the Jesuit varsity baseball team, earning recognition and honors from the league. He has participated in basketball at Jesuit. He now plays community basketball with the Catholic Youth League and has worked as a basketball referee.

This year the Scholarship Committee headed by Michelle Sugahiro of Nikkei Jin Kai gave six scholarships to students who showed academic excellence as well as participated in athletic and community service activities. Other members of the committee included: Kay Endo, Linda Grueber, Jenny Ogawa, Heidi Tolentino, and Marleen Wallingford.

Portland JACL, 2014 JACL Scholars

Ken Carlson:
Jesuit High School, Hide Naito Scholarship, UO
In addition to his athletic accomplishments, Ken has volunteered working with his mother to make fleece neck warmers and cool ties for the people of Kooriyama, Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. He and his mother were able to hand deliver these items to the victims the following winter at the temporary housing sites. Ken was able to meet and spend time with Japanese children who were very curious about his American experience. Ken has also volunteered at the Police Activities League, worked with area youth and served food at the Blanchet House. Ken has been studying the Japanese language and is interested in pursuing a career in international business.

Lauren Doughty:
Lake Oswego High School, Tsuya Minamoto Scholarship, St. Edwards U.
Lauren has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and participated in cross country and track and field at her high school. She has become one of the instructors for Tae Kwon Do. For her history project in school, Lauren chose her as her topic her grandmother’s experience at Tule Lake. Lauren has taken piano lessons and is interested in art.

Bradley Imai:
Tigard High School, Portland JACL Scholarship—Kiyoko Yumibe, Yoshiko Kennedy and Dr. Matthew Masuoka, OSU

Bradley gave the graduate response this year in Japanese and English. Bradley is a member of the National Honor Society and the Japanese National Honor Society. Bradly has taken international baccalaureate courses. He has played varsity football and baseball. He has had perfect high school attendance for all four years of high school. Bradly has coached at a football camp for 3rd through 6th graders. He has volunteered at the Ikoi No Kai Senior lunch program and has worked as a fundraiser for SOLVE to help clean-up the coast from tsunami debris and helped fundraise for the Philippines. Bradly attended the Japanese International School through the fifth grade and has completed the international baccalaureate fifth year program in Japanese

Ellen Jung:
Beaverton High School, Gresham-Troutdale JACL Scholarship, Linfield.

Ellen is a member of the National Honor Society and has completed over 50 hours of community service. Ellen has taken AP classes in her high school. She has successfully completed the Health Careers Program offered at her school. Ellen has earned a varsity letter in track and field. She has also played JV basketball and soccer and this year will be in the dragon boat races.

Chie Tanaka:
Southridge, Satsuki Azumano Scholarship, PSU.
Chie has been a member of Key Club for all four years of high school. This is a program of the Kiwanis Club International. She has volunteered over 200 hours in community activities She is member of the NW Institute of Community Enrichment which seeks to improve communities through collaboration. She has played varsity tennis in high school. Chie has attended the Portland Japanese School since first grade. Because of her second language skills, Chie has been able to help Japanese students attending Portland Community College.

Jina Yee:
Westview, Shokookai of Portland Scholarship, Temple.

Jina has been playing the clarinet since the 6th grade. She has been a member of the Westview High Marching Band since her freshman year and has participated in competitions, performances and parades. Gina was selected to participate in the 2013 JET Memorial Invitation Program for U.S. high school students. Thirty-two US high school students were given the opportunity to visit Japan for two weeks in the Tohoku region. Jina has learned how to speak Korean. In addition, she has been studying Japanese in her high school. Jina is interested in pursuing a degree in Asian studies.

Mrs. Mark Sumida Award
The following students received the Mrs. Mark Sumida Awards. Mrs. Sumida has supported the Japanese American Graduation Banquet for many years and we appreciate her support of our youth.

Rae Fitzpatrick-Blackman, Grant, UO; Alex Hada, Hillsboro Union; May Hijikuro, Southridge, UW or Wasera; John Rojas, Franklin, Colby-Sawyer College; Brandon Yep, Lakeridge, OSU.

Thank you to the Japanese American Graduation Banquet Committee headed this year by David Batchelor of Buddhist Henjyoji Temple. It takes a lot of volunteers and behind the scenes work to put on an event like this. Eleven sponsoring organizations help organize and support the annual Japanese American Graduation Banquet: Buddhist Daihonzan Henjyoji Temple, Epworth United Methodist Church, the Gresham-Troutdale JACL, Japanese Ancestral Society, Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Nikkei Fujinkai, Oregon Buddhist Temple, Oregon Nisei Veterans, Inc., Portland Chapter JACL, Shokookai of Portland and the Veleda Club.

The Nikkei community is proud of its youth and proud to have a banquet that recognizes their accomplishments as they are ready to make the transition to adulthood. The Nikkei community is here to support you.

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