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The 2013 University of Hawaiʻi Regents and Presidential Scholarship winners were honored at a dinner July 18 at the Pomaikaʻi Ballrooms at Dole Cannery.

The scholarship program is an ongoing effort to keep the state’s best and brightest right here in Hawaiʻi.

“The Board of Regents established these scholarships to support students at all 10 UH campuses across the state who have records of outstanding academic and community achievement,” said John Holzman, the UH Board of Regents chair.

Regents scholarships are given to 20 incoming freshman. They are all local high school graduates and well-rounded students who more than excelled in the classroom and in their national college entrance exams.

The Presidential Scholars are incoming college juniors with a high grade-point-average and evidence of superior academic achievement or creative endeavor.

All of the scholars receive full tuition waivers, $4,000 a year and a $2,000, one-time, travel grant.

“When I heard that I got the presidential scholarship, it was kind of this moment where the clouds parted and I knew I had a home, I knew I was supported,” said Aleca Borsuk, a 2013 UH Presidential Scholar. “It was a game changer. It really was.”

“It’s just a new opportunity for me to start and go onto to the path of my dream to go to med school,” said 2013 UH Regent Scholar Sylvia Koo, a Kalani High School graduate.

Of course, the tuition waiver is a huge benefit for the scholarship winners and their parents.

“My sister, too,” said Koo. “She is not in high school yet. She will be going to college and that will save up money for her as well.”

But there is more to the program than just the substantial financial aid.

“One of the real benefits of being a regents or presidential scholar is that you have this built in network when you come to Mānoa of people who are determined and achieved a lot already and are looking to achieve more.” Alexander Bitter, a 2012 UH Regent Scholar and UH Mānoa student.

“Through the regents and presidential scholars program, I was able to meet and befriend many wonderful people,” agreed fellow 2012 UH Regent Scholar and Mānoa student Angelica Wai Sam Lao.

Most of all, the program gives all of the scholars an opportunity to better themselves and make Hawaii and the world a better place.

“My ultimate dream is to become a surgeon,” said Koo.

“Well, I am interested in material sciences as applied to renewable energy,”said Lao.

“I am interested in material sciences as applied to renewable energy,” said Borsak.

For more about the scholarship, including how to apply, go to the Regents and Presidential Scholarships website.

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