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"Aunty" Geri Kuhia Tribute Scholarship

3 winners, $1,000 each
Application Deadline
May 1, 2023
Winners Announced
Jun 1, 2023
Education Level
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
Field of Study:
Performing arts
Education Level:
High school senior, trade school, undergraduate or graduate

“Aunty” Geri Kuhia has been a mainstay of Hawaiian music and musicianship in Southern California for many years of her life.

“Aunty” Geri Khuhia continues to be an active presence at all islander events that occur each year, infusing the spirit of those who attend and adding to the sense of community felt by all around her.

This scholarship seeks to honor “Aunty” Geri Kuhia by supporting deserving students who aim to pursue higher education.

Any high school senior, trade school, undergraduate or graduate student in California who is studying the performing arts may apply for this scholarship. 

To apply, tell us about your talent and interest in it and where you want to be in five years, pertaining to your talent.

Selection Criteria:
Passion, Ambition, Talent
Published January 27, 2023
Essay Topic

Tell us about your talent and interest in it, such as playing an instrument, singing and performing, and how you would like to see yourself in 5 years as to your talent.

400–600 words

Winning Applications

Alina Hernandez
Berklee College of MusicUpland, CA
Hello, my name is Alina Hernandez. I am a 19-year-old undergraduate student at Berklee College of Music as a Songwriting and Producing Music major. Music has always been my passion and I am still awestruck by the fact that I am attending Berklee! I am a vocalist, songwriter, pianist, arranger, sound engineer, and producer with live performance and studio experience. I grew up in a musical family and have always appreciated the ability of a musician to express humanity and deep emotions through musical frequencies. As a music student, I'm always striving to reach my goals, surpass them, and persevere toward greatness. In the next five years, I hope to be an official Berklee graduate and an actively working artist. I want to have original music released (albums, singles, etc.) that expresses universal messages everyone can relate to. I want to touch people with uplifting, comforting ideas and good vibes. A major dream I hope to accomplish in the next five years is to perform for award shows like the Grammys (as a background vocalist or even an artist). Even better, I'll continue to manifest my dream of being a Grammy nominee and winner. I aspire to collaborate with musicians, engineers, and artists that have inspired me throughout my years of studying. Although I've already had multiple experiences like this (performing with Stevie Wonder for an international broadcast, performing all over Los Angeles and the Inland Empire in Southern California, and more), I believe that music has no limits and I strive to go further and further in my journey every day. As a young Latina (born in Pomona, California) with a musical style of Jazz, RnB, and Neo-Soul, I fully understand what it feels like to not entirely fit into the boxes that society and the music industry believes I should conform to. I know that the music industry (especially the Jazz genre) is predominantly male and would easily underestimate female artists like me. I want to be an inspiration for other young aspiring female creatives to not feel intimidated by the daunting "reality" the music industry has tried to uphold. With the help and support from my family, friends, professors, mentors, and colleagues, I have been able to accomplish amazing things. In honor of them and the musical calling I was born with, I have continued to hone my craft to become a multifaceted industry professional. I have my mom to thank for my love for singing and piano. When I was a toddler, she introduced me to the basics of music. Since then, I have been working professionally since I was 14 years old. From singing in church to performing in LA, to recording scratch tracks and background vocals for different projects, my journey in music has been amazing. I come to you for help so I can continue my musical education. As wonderful as it has been these past two semesters, it has been a major financial struggle for me. I pay for tuition with my own money, resulting in me giving up what little I had in savings to pursue this endeavor. Of course, nothing will ever stop me from pursuing music, but having to quit college due to financial difficulties would be a heartbreaking setback. In honor of my late music professor (a dearly missed friend and father figure who I studied with since I was 11 years old), I want to see this through to the end and graduate. For him, for my supporters, and for all of my hard work leading up to this, I ask for your help. Thank you!
Dean Marquez
Grand Canyon UniversityRiverside, CA
Singing has been my most prominent talent ever since I could remember. I waited impatiently to grow older so that I could join the school's choir elective. The first time I would be in a choir is in 3rd grade for Harvest Christian School's Extreme Praise. I sang the songs heard on the radio, perform for those who would come, and sing at Forum Festivals so we could be ranked, I loved it. This brings me to an amazing yet frightening story of my life. I love to sing and I believe that it is my talent, but this would be put to the test when my high school choir would compete at ACSI held at Willaim Jessup University. This was a terrifying proposition. I have not done a competition before. What could happen? Are we good enough? Needless to say, it was a stressful bus ride for me. Though I had friends with me in the choir, I could not ignore this deep, underlying fear of what could happen. Besides ACSI setting up a performance with every choir combined into one, there was an honor choir, which I also had to do since I am a Section Leader. Being in San Fransisco was fun for the days we had before the competition, but I was still frightened. The day finally comes as we walk up into the University's auditorium. There must have been ten other choirs at designated tables. Throughout the day, we would hear choirs having their adjudication as we waited. They sounded beautiful, which only made me more scared since we only practiced for a few weeks before. The day ended and we had yet to be adjudicated, so we would have our's on the day of the grand performance. We sang our songs as best we could for the main director ACSI chose. We received pointers to make the songs better, then we were sent away so that the solo tryouts can happen. I could not do it since the solos were not in my vocal range. The performance came where we learned who would be singing. We made it to the individual choir performances. We would sing "For the Beauty of the Earth," being the stronger song of the two we tried with. Along with this, out of the four solo opportunities, our choir, Woodcrest Christian High School, earned three of them. The performance went on and everyone did wonderfully. The honor choir, with all of the choirs' best singers, managed to sound good despite we studied the song very little, forcing us to read the sheet music as we sang. After it was sent and done, we left happy with our ratings in hand. Out of the ten categories, 4 of them received an "Excellent" rating, and the other six received a "Superior" rating. I beamed with pride when I heard this. Excellent gratification for what you do. Within five years, I see myself with my degree, a Bachelor of Music, using it to make music of my own. Along with this beginning of my venture into the commercial use of my music, I want to move onto a teaching degree in music. I love what I do, thus I want to share it with the younger generation. I may not be a great explainer, I can definently teach by example.
Kelsie Oba-Spence
Orange Coast CollegeFresno, CA


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is May 1, 2023. Winners will be announced on Jun 1, 2023.

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