The Hilo Buddhist Friendship Society of Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin has named recent graduates Grayson Mento and Amanda Agdeppa as recipients of $1,000 scholarships. An awards ceremony and dinner were held in their honor on June 19 at the Sangha Hall.
Granting of two scholarships to high school seniors affiliated with the Big Island Honpa Hongwanji temples has been a 61-year tradition for this temple group, said spokeswoman Carolyn Mizuno.
Mento, a Hilo High School valedictorian, is the son of Quince and Joanne Mento. An active four-year student government officer, band leader and drum major, and member of the Ambassadors, Mento is also an Eagle Scout, possesses a black belt in karate and plays in the County Band. He has been active in countless temple activities over more than a decade of attendance at Hilo Hongwanji.
He will study music education in college, with a goal of earning a Ph.D. and teaching at the college level and directing its band.
A valedictorian at Honokaa High School, Agdeppa will study biomedical and robotics engineering in college. She has held numerous leadership positions, including president of the National Honor Society, Math League, Robotics Club, Science Club and Health Occupations Club, and has served as a mentor for the Paauilo Robotics Team.
She has been a karate instructor for six years and participated in a Young Buddhist International Cultural Student Exchange to Japan. Agdeppa is the daughter of Federico and Sherry Agdeppa.