The Saipan Chamber of Commerce awarded its 2015 scholarship to six deserving applicants at their monthly meeting held at Fiesta Resort & Spa yesterday.
Each scholar received a one-time monetary award of $2,000. Four were chosen from high school, one for college, and one for vocational studies.
For the vocational studies, Donovan Castro was awarded the scholarship and will be pursuing Culinary Arts at the Northern Marianas Trades Institute. Castro’s passion in cooking made his goals to help the CNMI through teaching the people how to eat, cook, and live healthy.
“Receiving this scholarship is really award because I never really applied for a scholarship until now. And to be chosen for this is really overwhelming for me. It actually opens doors for me,” Castro said.
For the college scholar, Riya Nathrani who is studying Education at the Northern Marianas College was chosen. Being a certified product of the Public School System, she hopes to finish school by next year and work as a public school teacher in the Commonwealth. Her goal is to teach and mentor the marginalized youth.
“It’s been pretty competitive, but if you persist and determined to really show your abilities and what you have accomplished then I think that you’ll be able to receive the scholarship. It’s been difficult but it’s very rewarding,” Nathrani said.
Of the four scholars from high school, two students were from Saipan International School, namely Minori Yoshida and Nicole Arenovski.
Yoshida, who graduated as valedictorian of her class, will be attending Barnard College of Columbia University in New York to become a pharmacist.
“I feel really accomplished I know that there are tons of amazing applicants and to be chosen as the winner amongst them all feels pretty rewarding. I feel more comfortable getting into college now because I won’t have any financial burdens,” Yoshida said.
Arenovski, on the other hand, has chosen the University of Nevada in Reno among the seven who accepted her application. She will be studying business marketing with a minor in graphic design and hopes to be able to help advertise and market the CNMI.
“I put in a lot of work to get to where I am today and the fact that I got the scholarship, it’s super rewarding because without it, college would’ve been really hard,” Arenovski said.
The two other high school students were both top placers in the Attorney General’s Cup this year and will be going to the University of Washington in Seattle.
Maria Fe Andrea Lazaro, class valedictorian of Mount Carmel High School, will be pursuing Biology and English. She hopes to continue to become a doctor.
“I’m very proud of my daughter because of this financial aid,” her father Leandro Lazaro said after accepting the award on her behalf.
Katrina Punzalan of Saipan Southern High School will be studying Political Science and wants to become an attorney. Despite the busy schedule of being a senior student with her extracurricular activities, she was able to pursue the scholarship because she knew it was something that could really help her in college.
“I was able to juggle everything together and in the end it was more rewarding than it was challenging,” Punzalan said.
Aside from the scholarship winners, three Chamber interns, who worked while attending high school, were also granted $500 each, namely Mary Fem Urena, Riczi John Cano, and Patrishia Mae Echavez.