October 11, 2008 - 2008 Scholarship Dinner & Bingo

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The 27th annual scholarship dinner and bingo night was a great success.  It was held on Saturday, October 11, 2008 at the Florin YBA hall.  The event was attended by 200+ Florin JACL members, their families and friends.  Tom Nakashima (96.9 The Eagle) was the bingo caller and he kept the bingo fun and entertaining all night. 


The event was chaired by Kevin Nakano and planned by the scholarship dinner committee: Andy Noguchi, Bob Uyeyama, Fumie Shimada, Kazuyo Morishita , Mike Staley and Sachiko Nagao.  Also, there were many volunteers, including seniors, members, friends, parents and the Florin JACL youth, that helped with food preparation, event set up, event staffing and clean up.  The event was a success because of all of the supporters that attended the event, made monetary contributions and made donations for the bingo and raffle. 

We'd also like to thank the businesses that sponsored advertisements in the printed program.  

Genevieve Shiroma - SMUD

Stan Eisner - Farmers Insurance

Kevin Nakano - Nakano Realty / Elk Grove Eats

Shawn Sage - Sage Pools

Sam Morishima - SnoZone Ski and Snowboard School

Galen Shimoda - Shimoda Law Corp.

Bob Chu - Satori Sushi & Teriyaki Grill

Donna Shioya - Law Office of Donna N. Shioya

Jeff Nauertz - WIN Home Inspection

Dr. Millie Bun - Family Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center



2008 Scholarship Recipients


In No Particular Order


The Florin Japanese American Citizens League selected the following four outstanding high school seniors as recipients of the chapterís 2008 Scholarship awards.  Selection was based on community and student activities; academic achievement; leadership experiences; and involvement with the community and Florin JACL.  Candidates also participated in a personal interview with the selection committee.  The winners were honored at the annual Scholarship Awards and New Members Social on May 17, 2008 at the Florin Community History Center.

Masumi Asahi, son of Reverend Seicho and Noriko Asahi, takes his own advice to ďtry everything you canĒ as he participated on the track and field and football teams, marching band, Key Club, California Scholarship Federation, student government, taiko, karate, volunteering, and pizza maker at Papa Murphyís Pizza.  He managed to do all this while maintaining a 3.8 GPA in the rigorous C.K. McClatchy Humanities and International Studies Program.  As a member and officer of the Japan Club at McClatchy H.S., he has helped the Florin JACL publicize events, serve seniors at the Asian Nursing Home, and attended the Mochi Tsuki in San Francisco with the youth group.  Masumiís participation in Japanese cultural studies includes 12 years performing with the Koyasan Taiko, four years in Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo, learning Japanese art and calligraphy through Sumi-e, and volunteering at various Buddhist Temples.  His other community service activities included drum line instructor at Sam Brannan Middle School, volunteer at the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Kiwanis Family House, and Fairy Tale Town. He has been honored as a 2008 Horatio Alger Scholar, National Honor Society of High School Scholars, 2007; JV Football Student Athlete of the Year, and Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship, 2008.  Masumi will attend UCLA with possible majors in Life Science or Film Production. 

John Kanemoto, son of Larry Kanemoto and Marian Dolmseth, joined the Florin JACL ďto attain a discount for the 2007 Manzanar PilgrimageĒ, but has been amazed by the knowledge and perspectives he has gained through the pilgrimage, helping with the annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser, and attending the 2007 National JACL Youth Conference. His participation in various JACL activities made his decision to join the 2008 Florin JACL Manzanar Pilgrimage planning committee an easy one. In addition to JACL activities, John was a member of the California Scholarship Federation, Chess Club, Japanese Club, Link Crew, Mathletes, Manufacturing Productions Technology Academy, and the Varsity Menís Golf Team at Laguna Creek High School.  Johnís community involvement and volunteer activities included:  Elk Grove Harvest Festival, Link Crew Freshmen Orientation, Tree planting with the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Family Fitness Day, Empty Bowls Project, National Walk Kids-to-school Day, and Peer Math Tutoring.  An honor student, John carried a 3.9 grade point average and has been recognized with the following:  Academic Excellence in Manufacturing Productions Technology Academy in Physics, Laguna Creek Scholar Athlete, Student of the Month, Laguna Creek Academic Achievement, and nominee for Junior Prom royalty.  John will attend CSU Sacramento majoring in math with hopes of becoming a teacher.

Kaitlin Toyama, daughter of Titus and Donna Komure Toyama, is ďaddicted to knowing thingsĒ and it shows in the wide range of activities that fill her schedule and enrich her knowledge and understanding:  honor student in the C.K. McClatchy High School HISP; President of the Japan Club; organizer and president of Free PPINK (Political Prisoners in North Korea); freshman class vice president;  homecoming float committee;  varsity tennis player and All-League Metro Conference Team; basketball player; active member of the Parkview Presbyterian Church; and monorail usher at the California State Fair.  Her volunteer work included helping at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen, organizer of church-wide fundraising, and visiting residents at the Asian Nursing Home.  Kaitlin spent several weeks in Nigeria and Ghana in 2006 on a CSUS trip sponsored through the AfriPeace and Development Foundation.  During the summer of 2007, she attended the California State Summer School of the Arts program for Creative Writing and earned the distinction of becoming a California Arts Scholar.  She has been part of the Florin JACL since infancy, attending functions with her family and later actively participating in the youth group.  She is high school representative; volunteer at the Installation Dinner, Scholarship Social, Spaghetti/Bingo Night; she attended the National JACL Youth Conference in Santa Clara and through the conference and other chapter events, increased her awareness of political and social problems that has led to activism and voicing her concerns of community and international issues.  Kaitlin has studied koto, a classical Japanese stringed instrument, since third grade and has achieved the level of Choden, first in the three levels of koto mastery.  Kaitlin will attend Occidental College majoring in International Relations/community development.

Jessica Yee, daughter of Joy and Randy Yee, chose a unique way to honor the memory of her grandmother and other internees, and to give members of her church the opportunity to experience the World War II internment of Japanese Americans. She organized a pilgrimage to the Manzanar Internment Center in Lone Pine, California as her Senior Project at J.F. Kennedy High School.  Jessica planned and led the trip for 30 members of the Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church in March, 2008, There they explored the exhibits, toured the camp, and participated in programs and worship and reflected on the experience.  In addition to undertaking this ambitious project, Jessica kept a busy schedule in the Kennedy High School PACE honors magnet (Program in American and California Explorations), CSU Sacramento MESL program (Mathematics, Engineering, Science, and Liberal Arts Honors Academy), California Scholarship Federation, Kennedy H.S. Varsity Ladies Golf Team, Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church Youth Group and basketball team, and Intern for Mayor Heather Fargo and Vincene R. Jones.  Her volunteer work included trips with her SJUMC Youth Group to an Indian reservation in Round Valley, California where they repaired housing, and to Los Angeles to help the homeless.  Her honors include Outstanding Student Awards in the MESL program, and her golf accomplishments as team captain, Most Improved Player, Cougar Award, Most Valuable Player, and All Conference Player.  She is also the recipient of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship.   Jessica will attend University of Pacific majoring in English.


Past Scholarship Recipient Updates 

In No Particular Order

Robert Oto (2004) - I graduated from UC Davis in 2008 with a double major in Economics and International Relations, and a minor in Japanese.  My future is still very blurry, but I have a general goal.  I am currently teaching English as a J.E.T. participant in Joetsu City, Niiigata Prefecture, Japan.  You may not have ever heard of Joetsu City, but it is just an hour north of Nagano, where the Winter Olympics were held in 1998.  I just started this job in August this year, and am planning on continuing it for the next two years.  From there, I plan to further my education in Economics through graduate school, and then search for a job in the stock market field concerning Japanese companies in the U.S. 

Erik Nishida (2004) - I received the scholarship from JACL my freshman year in college.  Since then, I have graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering.  Currently, I am a grad student at Purdue University aiming for a M.S. degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.  I am very thankful for the people who have helped me to get where I am today; JACL and everyone involved are among those people.  Thank you JACL, this organization continues help the leaders of our future, today.  Congratulations to all the new scholarship winners! 

Megan Toyama (2005) - Greetings from Scripps College in Claremont, CA! I can hardly believe it is already October of my senior year! Set to graduate in May 2009 with a Bachelors of Arts in Politics and International Relations and a minor in French Studies, I'm feeling anxious but excited about the unknown road ahead! Though I plan to attend graduate school in the next 3-5 years, for now I've been writing personal statements and polishing my resume for jobs and fellowships in politics and education. School and extracurricular activities keep me busy as well (I'm still very involved in the Asian American Student Union), but lately I've been trying to take time to just reflect on the incredible journey college has been. My last year especially, was filled with so many life-changing experiences. I studied art, history, and sociology in Paris, France last fall semester, and in the spring I participated in a political management program at The George Washington University in D.C. Then, to top it all off I spent eight weeks of my summer teaching two 8th grade U.S. history classes with the Breakthrough Collaborative back in Sacramento. Indeed, these years have been the best ever, and I am constantly humbled by the tremendous support of my family and the community. Thank you so much, and best wishes to the current JACL scholarship recipients who are just beginning their college endeavors!

Tracy Tokunaga (2002) - After graduating from San Diego State University, I came back to Sacramento and received my teaching credential.  I am now in my second year of teaching First Grade in the Elk Grove Unified School District.  Along with teaching, I am also the assistant basketball coach at our school.  Last year, our boys (5th and 6th graders) went undefeated!

Elizabeth Uno (2007) - I am now a sophomore at UCLA, hopefully pursuing a major in history or psychology or possibly both.  Last winter, I took an introductory course in Asian American Studies.  As part of the class, I conducted a research report on the attempted takeover of Little Tokyo by American corporations.  I am an active member of UCLA's Nikkei Student Union (NSU), and am a member of the Cultural and Community Service committee (CACS) within NSU.  Last spring, I visited Manzanar again with NSU (the first time was with Florin in 2006).  This year, the CACS committee plans to volunteer at JA community events, such as the upcoming Little Tokyo Health Fair and to continue our annual pilgrimages to Manzanar.  We also hope to continue volunteering at a local Asian American nursing home.

Annie Kim Noguchi (2007) - I am currently in my sophomore year at UC Berkeley, where I am majoring in Ethnic Studies and minoring in Public Policy and Education. In addition to studying, I am also the External Managing Editor of hardboiled, UC Berkeley's largest Asian American newsmagazine. I am also active with the Nikkei Student Union where I am Issues Chair. I continue to drum with EGO, UC Berkeley's traditional Korean drumming group and am a Representative in the Asian Pacific American Coalition. This past summer, I was fortunate enough to work in San Francisco Japan town at the National Japanese American Historical Society through the program Nikkei Community Internship. I would like to thank JACL for their generous scholarship and my parents for their continued guidance throughout the years.

Michelle Fong (2006) - I have just begun my third year as a civil engineering major at the University of California, Davis. So far it has been a great experience as I am involved in several organizations at school. I am quite dedicated to the American Society of Civil Engineers, and through them, I have been able to participate in Concrete Canoe which is just one of the student run projects that they have. The past year was my first year participating in the project, and this year I am proud to be one of the co-captains for our team. This past summer I was accepted for an intern position with the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, and I look forward to continuing my internship this fall. I am grateful for the support that the JACL has given to me through this scholarship and would like to wish this year's recipients the best of luck with their college endeavors.

Stephanie Ota (2006) - I have been attending Sacramento State for the past couple of years. Iím majoring in Business with a concentration in Management Information Systems (MIS). I still have not decided what I want to do for a career, so Iím trying to keep my options open. I have been working for the Department of Social Services for the last two years, as a student assistant. Iím getting my foot in the door and figuring out what it feels like working for the state. During my free time, Iím keeping in touch with basketball. I have not been able to play for the last year and a half because I tore my ACL, but I have been doing some coaching. I am helping my dad coach my little sisterís Barons basketball team, trying to learn coaching skills from him. I also coached fourth, fifth, and sixth graders this past summer for the Sacramento Asian Sports Foundation (SASF) summer league. Overall, Iím really enjoying my college experience, and even though I didnít go away for college, Iím meeting a lot of new people. Iím looking forward to graduating and finding a career that Iím passionate about. Iím definitely excited about my future.

Benjamin Staley (2007) - Hello JACL, I am happy to inform you that I am doing great at college. Although I still have a long road ahead of me I am proud to say that I finished last semester with a 3.65 GPA. I am currently part of many clubs, such as the Pride of Pacific Islands Club and the Advertisement Club. I have also taken a year of Asian American studies that helped me to understand more about the Japanese American culture, and other Asian American cultures as well. Through my first year I have decided to switch my major from engineering to marketing. As it may come as sort of a surprise, I am also planning on transferring to University of Hawaii, because of its well known business program. Hopefully I will be attending UH starting fall 2009. In other news I have also been part of the San Jose State Men's Water Polo Team spring semester. I am still very thankful for the scholarship I have received, as it helped to give me a head start for the long road ahead. Thank you and best wishes.

Jane Cho (2006) - I am currently in my junior year at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Sociology. I have been enjoying the rigor of my liberal arts education and the politically active atmosphere on campus. We have here many passionate students organizing their resources for a better world. In the past two years, I have been exploring student groups like the Korean drumming team and Alumni Student Association. However, I have found myself rooted in Liberty in North Korea, a humanitarian NGO benefiting North Korean refugees, and Gracepoint Fellowship Church, a home away from home where I have discovered truth worth living my life for. Currently, I am applying for internships and fellowships to gain experience in law and/or public policy, as I have my sights set on graduate school in these areas. I wouldn't be here without the tremendous, generous, and visionary support of JACL. I thank JACL for its decades of labor and courage not only to financially provide for students like us, but also to give us a cause worth supporting.

Kiyumi Nishida (2007) - I am currently attending Sacramento City and Cosumnes River Colleges.  This past February, I started working Blomberg Window Systems so since then, it has been difficult trying to balance work and going to school.  At this point in my educational career, I am a full time student trying to finish all the pre-requisites for a Biological Sciences major.  I'm currently looking to transfer to UC Davis in the Spring of 2010.  I would like to thank JACL once again for helping me to achieve my educational goals and to everyone, good luck!

Sondra Morishima (2007) - I am a sophomore at New York University studying Politics and History.  Between studying and spending time with friends, I am an e-board member of NYU's Asian Cultural Union and Workshop Coordinator for the New York City Asian American Student Conference.  This past summer I interned in the office of state senator Elaine Alquist.  The support from JACL has helped me in more ways than I can imagine just by shifting my focus to my intended area of study rather than on paying for college.  Thank you again for your help. 

Kevin Nobuo Nakano (1993) - I transferred to UC Santa Barbara and graduated with a degree in Film & Asian American Studies.  I moved to Los Angeles to work in the independent film industry where I worked on three films.  I moved back to Sacramento, earned a second bachelorís degree in Business with an Accountancy concentration (magna cum laude), then worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young LLP.  After auditing, I fell into the real estate industry and I am in my seventh year as a broker.  I provide residential real estate and property management services through out the greater Sacramento area and have offices in Roseville and Elk Grove.  I hold the positions of member services, webmaster and scholarship dinner chair for the Florin JACL.  Iím also the president of the Sac State Business Alumni Chapter, chair of the Ambassador program for the Sacramento Asian Chamber and founder of the Elk Grove Hub (a small business chamber).  I currently reside in Elk Grove with my wife Connie and our two pets: Pixie (Yorkie) and Smokey (bird).   In my spare time I enjoy mentoring college business students, fishing/crabbing, watching movies and watching the UFC mixed martial arts fights. 







Japanese American Citizens League, Florin Chapter

PO Box 292634, Sacramento, CA  95829-2634