Army students shine, awarded at local graduations
June 9, 2014
- Eleven military students become high school valedictorians
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- The Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) has held its high school commencement ceremonies for the class of 2014.
At Leilehua, Mililani and Moanalua high schools, a total of 11 Army-connected students were selected as the best and the brightest among their peers.
These students graduated as co-valedictorians, which indicated that they had achieved a 4.0 grade point average, or GPA, or higher, on their scholastic courses for all four years of high school.
All of them completed their senior project and graduated with a Board of Education "Step Up" Diploma, which requires rigorous math, English and science coursework.
-- Leilehua High School
This school had six Army-connected students who graduated as co-valedictorians:
•Lady Jane Lizabet, the daughter of 2nd Lt. Osman Martinez and Daynis Cruz;
•Michael Chapman, the son of Lt. Col. Matthew and Gabriele Chapman;
•Ka Ram Yang, the daughter of Sgt. Seong Ban and Eunmi Yang;
•Mya Moore, the daughter of Teesha Gambles-Francis (government contractor); and
•Mary and Henry Eccles, the twins of Col. Thomas and Margaret Eccles.
"My wife and I are incredibly proud of Henry and Mary and grateful for all the opportunities and mentorship they have had at Leilehua High School," said Col. Eccles.
-- Mililani High School
The originally scheduled Mililani High School graduation ceremony was postponed due to heavy rain and flooding; however, that didn't discourage the three valedictorians as the ceremony went on the following day:
•Tierra Gogue-Garcia, daughter of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Augusto and Eileen Garcia, Jr.;
•Kiana Keller, the daughter of Lt. Col. Santipong and Lisa Keller; and
•Adriene Unpingco, the daughter of retired Capt. Vincent and Helen Unpingco.
The young Unpingco will continue her education on Oahu.
"Because most of my close friends are leaving the island for college, I'm most excited to see fresh faces and meet different people at UH West Oahu," said Unpingco. "As of now, my major is undecided. I intended to study elementary education at West Oahu, but I've recently taken a liking to nursing. I plan to transfer to Hawaii Pacific University after one year at West Oahu, if I do decide to major in nursing."
-- Moanalua High School
Two Army-connected valedictorians represent Moanalua H.S.:
•Chelsey Mae Dizon, the daughter of Maj. Michael and Ruby Dizon, and
•Nikita Price, the daughter of Col. J. Dave and Linaye Price.
Chelsey will be attending Chapman University on a full scholarship.
"I'm very blessed to receive the Chapman University Chancellor's Scholarship, and I'm glad I was able to earn it, not for myself, but for my parents," said Dizon.
Nikita will be attending the most prestigious and well-known of all the commissioning military programs in the nation, the United States Military Academy at West Point. According to its website, "Being accepted for admission to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point is an exceptional honor reserved for our nation's most exceptional students."
-- More About Graduation
For more information about the graduation ceremonies, call the School Liaison Office at (808) 655-8326.