Sunday | October 23, 2016
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Junior Achievement students awarded for excellence

The 33rd annual Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island’s Future Unlimited Awards banquet was recently held at Sangha Hall. Junior

Achievers participating in the JA High School Company Program were recognized for their accomplishments.

This year’s program included 83 students from most of East Hawaii’s high schools, brought together into four companies: Simplicity sponsored by Bank of Hawaii; Kulia I Ka Nu’u sponsored by Big Island Toyota 808; Fine sponsored by HELCO; and JAWS — Junior Achievers Who Succeed, sponsored by HFS Federal Credit Union.

In total, the four companies amassed sales of more than $40,000 during the 13-week fall program. Ninety-four percent of the students had sales in excess of $100s and nine achievers sold more than $1,000 in merchandise.

Jennifer Taniguchi of Simplicity received the top salesperson honors with $3,534 in revenue. The Best Sales Presentation award went to Laurel Fongblatt and Brandon Aguiar of team Kulia I Ka Nu’u, whose company also won the Most Green Business Award.

In addition to providing the hands-on experience of manufacturing and selling products, the program also impresses on students the need for companies to support their community. The four JA companies participated in dozens of activities including visiting the elderly and veterans, making cards for oversees troops and packing Operation Christmas Child boxes. Kulia I Ka Nu’u won the Outstanding Community Award.

This marks the 26th year that Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island provided scholarship awards to the seniors participating in the company program. The scholarships are funded from the JA taxes assessed on the companies’ sales.

This year, $4,000 in scholarships were awarded to five students: Cherese Shelton of Keaau High School, Lakisha Kyrie Victorino-Hose of Hilo High School, Sienna Witthans of Kamehameha Schools, Becky Kyota of Waiakea High School, and Becky Zheng of Waiakea.

The final award of the evening was presented to the Outstanding Company of the Year, Simplicity, sponsored and advised by Bank of Hawaii.

In addition to the Company Program conducted each fall, Junior Achievement of Hawaii Island teaches business and economics to more than 3,500 East Hawaii students, from kindergarten through high school each year.

For more information about JA programs on the Big Island, contact District Manager Susan Labrenz at


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