Kuhia is second runner up

Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaii program rewards KS Maui senior


Photo by Courtesy of Regina Kuhia

Senior Regina Kuhia placed as second runner-up for the Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaii scholarship program on Sunday February 8 at the 56th annual scholarship program finals at Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama.

Kamehameha Maui senior Regina Kuhia was named 2nd runner up for the Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaiʻi scholarship program held at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Campus on February 8.

The oldest scholarship program in the state, DYW Hawaiʻi is a program for high school senior girls. It allows them chances to win nearly $18,000 in cash scholarships, 4-year college scholarships, and other awards provided by local sponsors. Since its founding in 1958, the program has accumulated more than 700,000 young senior women from across the nation. Girls that prove outstanding scholastic ability, fitness, communication, on-stage performance, and leadership qualities may compete.

As second runner up, Kuhia was awarded with prizes that total $16,ooo: a $2,250 cash scholarship, a $12,500 tuition scholarship from Hawaii Pacific University and $1,250 for her Be Your Best Self essay and for the interview.

After applying and being selected to participate, Kuhia took three months to prepare for the scholarship program, preparing for the fitness routine and the talent and interview portions.

For the talent portion, Kuhia danced a hula ‘auana to Napua Makua’s “Lawakua.” Being from Maui, she often flew to O’ahu for mandatory practices.

“I felt like I was preparing for a pageant, which is something I never thought I would be doing,” she said.

At this time, Kuhia does not plan to use the scholarship for Hawaiʻi Pacific University, but some of the rest of the money she’ll use for a laptop and flight expenses to go to college.

Kuhia has applied to Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Ohio State, and Columbia Universities; and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Chicago, and Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

“They’re all reputable institutions with a lot to offer,” Kuhia said. “The main contributing factor towards my final decision will be based on financial support.”

The senior plans to major in biochemistry and minor in psychology, unless she attends UH Mānoa, where she would also like to minor in Hawaiian studies.

“My plan is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, but I’m also interested in Native Hawaiian law and government,” she said.

Kuhia applied for the Doctor of Medicine Early Acceptance Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and hopes to receive free tuition for her undergraduate work and guaranteed acceptance into the John A. Burns School of Medicine upon completion of her undergraduate degree.

Two months ago, she received a $16,500 scholarship for Ohio State University.

“16,000 must be my lucky number!” Kuhia said.

The first runner up at the scholarship program was Kiri Takanishi of Kaiser High School. She was awarded a $3,500 cash scholarship, a $12,500 tuition scholarship from HPU, $750 for her talent, and $750 as the scholastics runner-up.

The Distinguished Young Woman of Hawaii 2015 is Tianzhen Nie, who won a $5,000 cash scholarship, a trip to DYW of American National Finals, a 4-year scholarship to HPU, $2,250 in cash scholarships as the top scholar ($1,000), and many other prizes.

Hawai’i’s previous Distinguished Young Woman 0f 2014 was Punahou School graduate, Makana Williams, who now is a freshman attending Yale University.