By Mr. Dennis C. Drake (IMCOM)September 11, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Sept. 11, 2012) -- With a serious look of responsibility in her eyes and a poise and demeanor beyond her years, Kalaheo High School senior Juvie Ignacio Varela became the sixth recipient of the annual 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe Scholarship of Honor, here, Aug. 31.
Varela earned this year's scholarship for outstanding academic and athletic achievements, community involvement and superior leadership performance as a member of Kalaheo High School's Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
Awarded annually to a Hawaii high school senior who is enrolled in a JROTC program, and who will then enter Army ROTC at the University of Hawaii, the scholarship is named in honor of 1st Lt. Nainoa Hoe, a 1995 Kamehameha Schools graduate from Kailua.
Hoe attended UH-Manoa, earning a Master of Business Administration degree and receiving his commission as an Army infantry officer through the university's Army ROTC program in 2003.
An Army Ranger and infantry platoon leader, Hoe was killed on Jan. 22, 2005, in Mosul, Iraq, while leading a foot patrol urging Iraqi citizens to vote in Iraq's first national elections. He served in the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, Wash.
The $1,000 scholarship and a special silver medallion endowed by Waimanalo businessman Ohelo Kaopio is awarded through the Wisconsin-based Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation. Since 1992 the Foundation has awarded hundreds of scholarships, in honor of fallen war heroes, to students across the U.S. and around the world committed to military or public service.
"I sincerely extend my most humble appreciation to the Brian LaViolette Scholarship Foundation, as I am honored to represent Nainoa Hoe's legacy this year, " Varela said. "This token of recognition not only reassures me of my goals and future successes, but others like yourselves who believe my efforts are not in vain. I shall not fail."
Varela is the daughter of Julie and Victor Varela, a family with a legacy of military service. Her father is a career Marine noncommissioned officer and her brother is an Army officer.
In addition to her Naval JROTC responsibilities, Varela is a member of the National Honor Society and participated in track and field, swimming, cross-country and Tae Kwon Do. She also serves as a community volunteer worker and church choir member.
"Juvie is a natural leader whom we will look to in the future for great things," said Allen Hoe, 1st Lt. Hoe's father. "We know that Nainoa is especially proud of this young lady who will continue his legacy."
Participating in the scholarship award ceremony was Maj. Gen. Joseph Chaves, deputy commander, Army National Guard, U.S. Army-Pacific, who presented Varela with a USARPAC Commanding General's Coin, and Col. Thomas Mackey, commander of the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Schofield Barracks, who had served as Hoe's brigade executive officer in Iraq, as well as his battalion executive officer at Fort Lewis, prior to their deployment.