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5 WMS 8th Graders Earn 'College Pathway Scholarships'

posted Aug 3, 2019, 6:34 PM by Patti Cook
Five Waimea Middle School (WMS) exiting 8th graders were awarded $1,000 “College Pathway Scholarships” to encourage them to complete high school and pursue college and career goals. 

Recipients of the scholarships include Jade “Ulu” Kaiawe-Masuda, Taylor-Lynn Reyes and Ruby Stevenson, all of whom have been accepted into Parker School for 9th grade for fall 2019, and also Shane Beeder and Amber Berry, who have been accepted into Hawaii Preparatory Academy.  The awards were presented during 8th grade Exit ceremonies Friday, May 31. 

The scholarships are sponsored by Dr. Roger Gremminger, an active community volunteer at WMS for a number of years.  Dr. Gremminger grew up in Wisconsin with seven brothers and sisters on a small family farm in a family of meager means.  He attended seminary for nine years which introduced him early to community service.  Four years before completing seminary, he shifted focus to medicine, and, thanks to hard work and the support of his parents and older sister, he was able to go to medical school and achieve his goal of becoming an emergency room physician.

The support he received from his family to pursue higher education, and his early years of involvement in helping others, inspired him to continue giving back to his community even while working as an ER doc.  For many years, he dedicated hundreds of volunteer hours to assist as a physician at free clinics to ensure that quality health care was available to many.  His “giving back” continues even after retiring to Waimea.  From personal experience, he knows that completing high school and pursuing further education in college can open many doors   He therefore decided four years ago to commit personal funds to establish annual scholarships for exiting WMS 8th graders.           

“Our students earn this scholarship through their own pa’ahana (hard, industrious work) and “living” our school’s IKAIR core values.  As important is the support they have received from their family and our schoiol’s dedicated teachers and staff,” said WMS Principal Janice English.

“We are indebted to Dr. Gremminger, both for his time and his financial contribution to making 28 scholarships available over the past 4 years.  We are a community school; we need and welcome community involvement in the lives of our students. This is a little out of the box thinking for middle school but definitely appreciated, especially by students’ families, and we hope it motivates others to work hard and make the most of their middle school years, said English. 

Dr. Gremminger plans to initiate more college or career scholarships next school year for WMS alumni who will then be graduating from Honoka’a High School. 

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