Deisha P.

$1,000 Business Scholarship Award Winner

What influenced me to pursue a Business career is living on a beautiful island that has remained "untouched." Over the years, Molokai, Hawaii, has been divided between those who support land development and the benefits that it can bring to our island, and those who are totally against any form of development and/or tourism. I personally feel that it’s very important to preserve our culture and our land, but also important for families to be self sufficient with active employment. If I can return to Molokai with a Business degree, a little more educated and qualified, I would be able to sit on the Molokai Planning Commission, or possibly the Molokai Enterprise Community Board where I can get closer to the issues at hand and really do my part in helping to support and control the economic growth on Molokai.

I am really excited about pursuing a Business degree so I can return to Molokai and help to preserve our Hawaiian culture. With the help of your scholarship award, I will be able to follow my dreams and reach my educational goals. Molokai is one of the most beautiful islands in Hawaii, but it’s also considered to be one of the poorest areas to reside in the United States. Currently, 60% of Molokai’s residents have incomes below the 200% Federal poverty limit and have an average annual per capita income of $9,502 as compared to a statewide per capita income of $15,770. On Molokai, 20% of the population 18 years and over do not have a high school diploma, as compared to a statewide rate of 10.1%. Forty-two percent of Molokai residents are reading at or below an eighth grade level of education (Hawaii State Data Book, 2001). I give you these statistics to paint a picture of the environment that Molokai students like myself are raised and the obstacles we are faced with on a daily basis. Very few of our island’s residents leave to pursue a college education. I would be one of the few.

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