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Soroptimists honor three at awards luncheon

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Contributing Editor

Two high school seniors and a mature student were the recipients of awards from Soroptimist International of Kona.

The trio of awardees were honored at a luncheon Tuesday, March 23 at Royal Kona Resort.

Patti Connors

Patti Connors, a 17-year-old Honokaa High School student, was the winner of the Violet Richardson Award. Named after the president of the first Soroptimist Club in 1921, this award is given to a young woman between the ages of 14-17 for her work as a volunteer in her community.

Connors has been working as a volunteer coach with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO). As the recipient of the Violet Richardson Award, Connors received $500 and will be eligible for further awards at the regional and federation levels. An equal amount also was awarded by SI Kona to the AYSO.

She said her parents instilled in her the value of volunteering and has learned it is not about her, but about what her players take away from their experiences.

Connors said she plans to study journalism at the University of Puget Sound or Amherst College. Her career goal is to write and travel.

Katelyn Mitchell

Katelyn Mitchell, a 17-year-old Konawaena High School student who lives in Ocean View, was awarded the Youth Citizenship Award. This award is given by SI Kona to a young man or woman between the ages of 14-18 who has made outstanding contributions to home, school, community and country.

Mitchell is the student government president at Konawaena and in that capacity started a Christmas card project in which students from her school made Christmas cards to send to our troops, Kona Hospital and Kona Adult Day Center.

Mitchell has also participated in community service activities such as the Ironman Triathlon, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Kealakehe’s Meet and Eat Thanksgiving dinner. Mitchell received $1,000 from SI Kona.

She plans to attend Northern Arizona University and wants to be an elementary school teacher and principal, and a part-time wedding planner on the side.

Mitchell said she will use her award to purchase a computer, which be used “thousands of times in political and civics classes.”

Elizabeth “Betsy” Curtis, 57, of Waimea, is the winner of this year’s Women’s Opportunity Award. This award gives a woman who is enrolled in an undergraduate or vocational skills training program and who is the primary financial support for her family a chance to better her life and reclaim the dream she had to put on hold years ago.

After raising her children, Curtis works part time at night and is enrolled at Hawaii Community College in their nursing program where she currently has a 4.0 average. She plans to graduate in May 2012 and hopes to work at North Hawaii Community Hospital as a geriatric nurse.

Curtis received $1,000 from SI Kona and will be eligible for further awards at the regional and federation levels.

She previously has worked as a commercial fisherman, coffee farmer, Japanese language teacher at Parker School and a pop singer. Curtis had a hit song in Japan at age 16 and spent five years recording and touring that country.

She and her daughter Emma treated the lunch crowd to a couple of songs to wrap up the award ceremony.

— Find out more:
Soroptimist International of Kona: www.sikona.org

Sue Canter presents Betsy Curtis with her award at the Soroptimist International of Kona luncheon. (Hawaii 24/7 photograph by Karin Stanton)

2 Responses to “Soroptimists honor three at awards luncheon”

  1. Sue Canter says:

    Thanks, Karen.

  2. Kelly says:

    Great Awards luncheon. It is admirable all the work these young girls have done in our community! Betsy Curtis & daughter are wonderful entertainers! So glad, I am a Soroptimist!

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