SAN FRANCISCO — The 2013 Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival Community Service Scholarship Committee announces the two recipients of the $2,000 scholarship: Allison Yamamoto of Sacramento and Jeffrey K. Hatai of Fresno.

They will receive their awards during the festival’s opening ceremony at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, on the Peace Plaza stage in San Francisco’s Japantown.

Allison Yamamoto

A senior at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, she is the daughter of Thomas and Kathryn Yamamoto of Sacramento. She has a 4.39 weighted grade point average and is ranked fifth of 506 graduating seniors. The fourth-generation Japanese American is planning to attend Columbia University majoring in international relation/economics-political science.

Yamamoto has been the student body president for two consecutive years and has been enrolled in the extremely rigorous Humanities and International Studies Program during her four years at McClatchy High School. She is the founder and president of the McClatchy High School Political Action Committee and a life member of the California Scholarship Federation; played varsity women’s tennis and was this year’s team captain; and is member of the Film Studies Club. She has an interest in filmmaking and has won several awards for films that she has produced.

She has taken Advanced Placement courses in calculus AB, biology, English literature, statistics, U.S. government, and physics.

Yamamoto has been recognized by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) in a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in Washington, D.C. for her volunteer work and is presently a congressional Intern for Matsui. She has been a participant with the Dwight Global Leaders Academy in Vancouver and has been part of a national group of 20 students that traveled to Berlin to conduct a research project on the global impact of modern social networking.

She has been part of the Lady Barons Basketball Program, a member of Girl Scout Troop 569, and an active volunteer with the Buddhist Church of Sacramento.

For the past two years, Yamamoto was the founder and leader of the Teen Volunteer Tutoring Program, which provides tutorial assistance to elementary school students using the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Public Library as a tutorial site. She is also on the library’s Teen Advisory Board. She developed a system to organize elementary school students who need individualized tutorial assistance and then organized high school students to become the needed tutors.

The librarian of the Robbie Waters Pocket-Greenhaven Library wrote in her letter of recommendation that Yamamoto “is intelligent, thoughtful, organized, and focused. She faces challenges head-on, developing her own solutions to problems. Her commitment to helping others has led to the huge success of her teen volunteer tutoring program. It came as no surprise when she became one of the select few to receive the Congressional Gold Medal Award.”

Jeffrey K. Hatai

A senior at Clovis North High School in Fresno, he is the son of Arnold and Diane Hatai. He has a weighted grade point average of 4.12 and is ranked 32nd out of 426 graduating seniors. He is planning to attend CSU Fresno majoring in nursing. He is a member of the Clovis North High School Key Club and founder and president of the Clovis North High School Christian Hip-Hop Club; competed in shot put and discus on the varsity track and field team; was on the junior varsity football team until a football-related injury prohibited further participation in the sport; and is a life member of the California Scholarship Federation.

Hatai has taken Advanced Placement courses in biology, statistics, psychology, English language and composition, U.S. hstory, and world history.

He has been a volunteer for Saint Agnes Medical Center, Special Olympics, and Kiwanis Club, and is a youth leader at the Riverpark Bible Church, participating in many hours of community service in the church’s service projects. He has also devoted an extraordinary number of hours of community service over the past four years through the Parlier Bible School Community Service Outreach Program’s unique relationship with his church, demonstrating the passion he has for serving those that are in need.

The pastor of the church wrote, “I can tell when volunteerism is something a student genuinely enjoys and when it’s performed in order to check the proverbial box on the list.  I’ve observed sincere enthusiasm in Jeff when it comes to serving others.”

Hatai’s Advanced Placement U.S. history teacher wrote, “His desire to pursue a career in nursing is well-suited for Jeff. I know Jeff’s academic skill, especially his interest in the sciences, and gregarious, flexible personality will suit him well in this profession. He is a sincere and hard-working student. Jeff is a person who can bring all types of individuals together for the common good. Conscientious, goal-oriented, well-rounded, and considerate – these are words that best describe Jeff.”

The Nikkei Lions Club of San Francisco administers the scholarship program. For further information, contact Steven Hirabayashi at (510) 471-7324 or

For more information about the festival, visit

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