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cherry blossom court
68th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen Jewel Mahoe (center), photo courtesy of the Cherry Blossom Festival

Jewel Mahoe, a doctoral student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Education Department of Learning Design and Technology, now has a new title, Cherry Blossom Festival Queen. She was also named Miss Congeniality and was selected for the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship Award.

Photo courtesy of Steven Yamaki, Images by Steven

A preschool special education teacher at Ala Wai Elementary School, Mahoe earned a bachelor of arts in elementary education degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master of education in special education degree from Vanderbilt University.

“I am incredibly honored to have been awarded the title of 68th Cherry Blossom Festival Queen and to be the recipient of the Violet Niimi Oishi Scholarship,” Mahoe said. “This is a great opportunity to be a role model for other young Japanese American women in Hawaiʻi and to represent the Cherry Blossom Festival. I am most honored to have been awarded Miss Congeniality by my peers. I truly value the friendships I have made and am grateful for all 14 of my fellow contestants.”

Typically held in March, the festival ball was held in June in a smaller format because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifteen contestants underwent 10 months of preparations, including training sessions, public appearances and cultural lessons. Further adhering to CDC guidelines, certain events and responsibilities of the queen and court will be held online.

“This year, our focus will be on serving the community in different ways,” Mahoe explained. “We would like to be safe, and we will definitely be thinking creatively during these unprecedented times. We are looking to partner with other organizations and do what we can. I’m really excited to spend more time with the amazing women on the court with me.”

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