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2009 Scholarship Recipients

Oliva (OJ) Auimatagi, Jr.

PIFA Top Scholar Award Recipient
Jonathan Tarr Foundation Award

Oliva (OJ) Auimatagi is a graduate of Helix Charter High School and plans to attend San Diego State University to study Psychology.  He played football for Helix as a two way starter on the team, making it to the CIF Championship game.  He has received awards, such as, being on the East County Academic team, Grossmont South all league for offense and defense and Iron Man Award from his coaches placing his name amongst those chosen in the past, such as, Reggie Bush from the New Orleans Saints.  OJ attends the First Samoan Congregational Christian Church of San Diego with his family where he is a member in their youth choir and has been an altar boy for four years.  With the leadership skills he has learned he feels it is important to share it with his community where he has volunteered his services.  OJ has also performed with the Samoan Community Dancers of San Diego.

Eddie Faamaile

Eddie Faamaile attended Helix Charter High School and will be attending the University of San Diego. While in school, Eddie concentrated on his academics and was able to succeed in sports, playing on the varsity football and volleyball teams.  He has received several awards including Principalís Honor Roll and Good Citizenship.  He was also granted membership in the National Society of High School Scholars, named Union Tribune All-Academic Team Captain for his school and selected as a Scholar-Leader-Athlete for the 2008-09 school year by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.   He owes his success to his faith in God and strong support from his family.  Eddie attends the Word of Life Worship Center and has volunteered in different areas, including assisting in supervision of the childrenís ministry, helping in their Food Bank Distribution and attending the youth ministry at his church.  He has been accepted to numerous colleges, but has decided to attend the University of San Diego to pursue his studies in the Medical Field.

Donovan Mansinon-Salazar

Donovan Mansinon-Salazar graduated from Morse High School and will be attending Chaminade University of Honolulu to study Graphic Design.  Donovan has received awards including two consecutive Union Tribune All-Academics Awards, award for maintaining a 3.46 GPA while on his Varsity Wrestling Team, award for maintain a 3.47 GPA while on the Varsity Track/Field Team and helping his team win Easter League Co-Championship.  Academics are of great importance to Donovan, as well as, his commitment and services to perpetuate the spirit of Aloha in him.  Donovan feels his school and community service experiences has taught him a lot and believes as citizens, we just need to open our eyes and lend a helping hand. 

Jessikalyn (Kalena) Merghart

Jessikalyn (Kalena) Merghart attended Hilltop High School and will be attending San Diego State University.  Kalena has dedicated her time serving her community working with Loving Arms dog Adoption Corner at Petsmart, helping over 30 dogs find homes, tutoring and volunteering with younger students, choreographing on her dance team, and as a member of the Connect Crew Club at her school (which helped freshman of her school feel a sense of belonging in their new surroundings).  She also performs with Halau Oí Na AliíI, and has become an assistant director for the group. She has performed for many well known artists, such as Makaha Sons and Hapa.    One of Kalenaís main goals is to become more fluent in not only her own cultureís language, but others, as well.

Amber Singh

Amber Singh graduated from Carlsbad High School and will be attending Brigham Young University.  Amber has received several awards throughout her high school career earning the Principalís Silver Star Award, San Diegoís Most Inspirational Student in 2005, Young Women in Excellence Award by the LDS Church and in her show choir group, her group won Best Showmanship in Southern California.  She has taken on many leadership roles, such as ASB President, youth group president Africa Club Treasurer, Polynesian Club President, Volleyball Captain, Dance Captain, choir section leader and a Student Site Council Representative.  Amber has participated in her communityís Oceanside Sun Project for six years where she helped renovate older neighborhoods, worked with Operation Appreciation, where she helped served military families and volunteering with her church.  One of the things she most enjoys is dancing.  Amber has been dancing Polynesian since she was a child and has danced for many community events, weddings and shows for local organizations.  Her goal is to study medicine to become a Pediatric Nurse.

Janeh Toilolo

Janeh Toilolo graduated from Helix Charter High School and will be attending California State University of Los Angeles.  Janeh has earned several awards academically; including the Union Tribune All-Academic (three years in a row), Honor Roll, Fellowship of Christian Athletes recognition, and nominated for their National Youth Leadership Award.  She has also received athletic achievements including being a Varsity Field Hockey Starter for four years at her high school, Varsity Team Captain, First Team All-League, Second Team All-CIF and chosen by her field hockey teammates as MVP-Defense.    Janeh contributes her time volunteering and participating in her community, which she feels is of great importance to her life.  She has volunteered in her community of Lemon Grove with their Little League, Bonfire Day and Old Time Celebrations.  She was also active in her school Multi-Cultural Day where she helped share her Samoan culture.  Janeh values her ties with her church where her family attends and there she experiences her Pacific Islander culture on a very personal level.  Her goal is to become a Crime Scene Investigator after earning a degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Forensics. 


Lindsay Reva McNicol~~Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego 2009 Queen

Lindsay Reva McNicol currently attends Miramar College and is pursuing a career in Nursing.  She has chosen this career path so that it will help her experience emergency situations, an essence to help people, and also give her the opportunity to travel while nursing at different facilities around the world.  This year Lindsay won the title of PIFAís Queen for the Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego, 2009 Scholarship Pageant and Miss Charity and represented Tahiti.  Lindsay has been performing with Healiíiís Polynesian Revue and since she was six years old she has had the dream to dance in the Heiva, in Tahiti.  This year that dream came true for her.  She feels that this is one of her biggest accomplishments.  Her passions in life are the art of Tahitian dance, the movement and meaning of art in our Urban society, and riding her motorcycle. 

Melinda Sisa Fuimaono~~ Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego 2009 Princess

Melinda Sisa Fuimaono currently attends Southwestern College as a full time student and athlete.  Her family has been the backbone through her success in education and sports and she has worked tremendously hard to receive an accumulative GPA of 3.56.  Melinda performs with Taupou Samoa Dance Troupe and in 2006 was crowned Miss Tausala of San Diego.  She was blessed with the opportunity to learn more about her culture, language, traditions and share it with the younger girls of her community and she volunteered at many events and became a role model.  This year, Melinda was crowned Princess for PIFAís Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego 2009 Scholarship Pageant.   Melinda hopes to one day play volleyball for a university and graduate with a Bachelorís Degree in Sociology.

Ricarda (Kekoa) Hawkins

Kekoa is currently attending the PIMA Medical Institute and studying to be a Veterinary Doctor.  Recently she received her certifications of academic achievement in CPR & First Aid, Anatomy, Physiology and Terminology, Math Fundamentals, Study Skills and Computer Basics and perfect attendance in Career Prep of the Veterinary Assistant Program.  She has received actual hands on training in the South Bay Animal Shelter and has begun work employment in the field.  In June of 2009, she completed her course as a Veterinary Assistant and is working on becoming a Veterinary Technician.  Her ultimate goal is to one day become a Veterinary Doctor.  Kekoa was formerly Princess and Miss Charity for the Miss Pacific Islander of San Diego Scholarship Pageant in 2007.  She has volunteered and supported her community in many fundraisers and events.

Jasmine Pulu

Jasmine Pulu is currently attending San Diego State University with Accounting as her major.  She has achieved the honor of being on the Deanís List, maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.44 and joined a nationally recognized academic co-ed fraternity called Phi Eta Sigma.  Jasmine is actively involved with San Diego Stateís Pacific Islander Student Association and Leader of the Warriors for Christ Bible study group.   PISA has given her the opportunity to interact with other Pacific Islander college students looking to construct a brighter future for themselves, as well as, their communities.  Jasmine hopes to one day open a scholarship program for Pacific Islander students who demonstrate a willingness to obtain a college degree at a four-year university and provide a free tutoring program for students who cannot receive the necessary attention and help they need in their core classes. 

See Scholarships winners 2008
See Scholarships winners 2007
2010 Scholarships
PIFA 2010 High School and Undergraduate scholarship due by February 28, 2010
PIFA High School Scholarship application
PIFA Undergraduate Scholarship application
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