Eight Share $146,000 in Scholarships from SHPB

June 2010

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One active Seafarer and seven dependents now will be able to further their educational aspirations thanks to the recent awarding of grants totaling $146,000 from the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan (SHPB).

Meeting May 7 in Charleston, S.C., members of the SHBP Scholarship Committee chose Seafarer Lon Oliver along with dependents Robert Firme, Aisha Woods, Margot O’Meara, Eizie Giray, Jacob Miller, Sime Masnov and Molly Johnson as recipients of the calendar year 2010 Charlie Logan Scholarships. Oliver is the recipient of a two-year, $6,000 endowment while Firme, Woods, O’Meara, Giray, Miller, Masnov and Johnson each will receive four-year scholarships for $20,000 to attend institutions of their choices.

Following are brief biographical sketches of each scholarship recipient and recaps of their respective educational aspirations.

Lon Oliver
Recertified Bosun Lon Oliver is the recipient of the scholarship designated for active Seafarers. He will receive $6,000 for study at a two-year institution of higher learning.

A native of Oregon, Brother Oliver attended Yamhill-Carlton Union High School for two years and received his GED in 1981. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served aboard a guided missile destroyer from 1981 to 1984.

Brother Oliver joined the SIU in 1989 in the port of Seattle, Wash. “This allowed me to return to my first love, the sea,” he said. He added that since becoming a Seafarer, his life has improved greatly and he is more focused.

“I bought a small piece of land on which I plan to plant a small orchard and grow various types of fruit,” he stated. With luck, he hopes sell the “fruits of his labor” and become self-sufficient.

“By taking chemistry and horticulture classes to help me grow the best fruit possible for market, along with business classes to show me how the market works, things should only get better,” he said.

Robert Firme
Robert Firme hails from Ewa Beach and is a graduate of James Campbell High School in Hawaii.

Born in the Republic of the Philippines, he is the son of Steward Roberto A. Firme (and mother, Bita.) and has two brothers. Firme posted an overall 4.2 grade point average during his high school tenure and graduated first in his class of 639 students. He is a member of the National Honor Society and the recipient of numerous academic accolades in math, science, English, and history. He was enrolled in the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, ROTC, was active in student government and held membership in a variety of high school clubs including the math, science and robotics teams.

Firme was a member of his high school’s varsity tennis team and was extremely active in a host of other non-athletic extra-curricular and community activities. He plans to pursue a four-year degree in civil engineering, possibly at Stanford University where he already has been accepted.

Aisha Wood
Aisha Wood is the daughter of AB Wilbert E. Wood (and mother Betty, a teacher). Born in Louisiana, Wood now resides in Argyle, N.Y. She is a 2009 graduate of Argyle High School where she ranked first in her class of 68 with a very high GPA. While in high school, Wood held membership in the Tri Beta Club (Biology), an acapella group and an international student organization.

Wood currently is attending Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. She has already earned 17 credits toward her four-year degree. She plans to major in Biology and someday attend medical school.

“I believe in honesty, responsibility, hard work and people achieving great things simply by having a strong will and an immeasurable passion,” she stated in her scholarship application package. “I know I will make a great physician because I have the drive and the passion to help others.”

Margot O’Meara
A native Marylander, Margot O’Meara hails from Chester, Md.

She is the daughter of retired Inland Master James O’Meara (and mother, Goga, an accounts manager) and has one sister. O’Meara is a 2009 graduate of Kent High School in Stevensville, Md. While in high school, she achieved an overall 4.03 GPA, was a member of the National Honor Society and earned a myriad of Maryland State academic honors. O’Meara was heavily involved with cheerleading and worked tirelessly in volunteer activities in her community. O’Meara currently is attending St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City, Md.

Still in her freshman year, she already has amassed 14 credits toward her degree. She plans to major in Political Science and Economics with minor emphasis in Sociology.

“I have always been interested in government and politics,” said O’Meara in the narrative portion of her scholarship application package. “After undergraduate school, I am planning on continuing my education further in law school.”

Eizie Giray
Eizie Giray was born in the Republic of the Philippines and is daughter of deep sea Bosun Rufino J. Giray (mother, Ruchie, a home maker) and has two siblings.

A resident of Waipahu, Hawaii, Giray graduated from Pearl City High School where she posted a 3.67 GPA and ranked 49th in her class. Eizie devoted her time exclusively to academics during her freshman and sophomore years, but got involved in athletics and extracurricular activities as a junior and senior. She was active in her school’s student council, math team and Polynesian and Leo Clubs.

“Ever since I can remember, my parents have always taught me that education is of the utmost importance; it’s the key to making it in life,” she said in her scholarship package.

Her goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree in science and ultimately pursue a career in biomedical engineering. Giray has applied to three four-year universities: University of Hawaii, La Sierra University and Stanford University.

Jacob Miller
Jacob Miller wants to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. The son of retired Chief Engineer Marlin Miller (mother, Sheryl) Jacob has two siblings.

He was born in Duval County, Fla., and is a graduate of Duncan Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach. Fla. Jacob ranked 98th in his graduating class and posted an overall 4.0 GPA. He excelled in both baseball and basketball while in high school, but baseball was his passion. He had aspirations of playing in college and even in the Majors before a serious injury to his pitching arm brought an abrupt end to his dreams.

“Then I discovered eBay and the world of mechanical engineering and everything changed,” he said. “At the instance, all of my aspirations came back to me and I felt inspired again.

“I discovered that I could modify an Xbox 360 controller and sell it on eBay,” he continued, “….and my goal to become a mechanical engineer at the University of Florida had begun.”

Jacob has already completed two semesters of study at Florida State Community College. He has earned 25 credits towards his degree.

Sime Masnov
Sime Masnov hails from San Pedro, Calif., and is a 2009 graduate of San Pedro High School.

The son of Chief Engineer Marijan Masnov (mother Biserka is a homemaker), Sime has one sibling. While in high school, he was a member of the cross country team and participated in the Los Angeles Marathon. Masnov served as vice president of his school’s Croatian Club. Active in his community, Sime was a volunteer tutor in the boys and girls clubs and served as an usher in his church.

Following graduation, he attended Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington, Calif., where he earned five credits. He later enrolled at California Maritime where he remains to date and is pursuing his degree in maritime transport. Masnov has earned 62 credits and has an overall GPA of 3.45.

Quoting Booker T. Washington, Masnov believes that “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Applying this quote to his own life, he says that he is a true believer in Washington’s assessment regarding success.

“During my time in Pedro (High School) I had many experiences that will always stay with me,” he said. After competing in the L.A. Marathon in 2004—on of the
hottest of all time, Masnov said, “I felt like I could accomplish anything.”

Molly Johnson
Molly Johnson was born in Sonoma, Calif., and currently resides in Healdsburg, Calif.

The daughter of the late Bosun Michael Johnson (mother, Kathy), Molly is a 2010 graduate of Healdsburg High School. She achieved an overall 4.0 GPA while attending Healdsburg High and was active in a number of sports, clubs and community activities. Her favorite sport is swimming; she was a four-year member of her high school swim team. Molly hopes to continue swimming while in college.

Johnson plans on pursuing a career in marine biology at either the University of California at Santa Cruz, or at Humbodt State University in Arcata, Calif., where she already has been accepted.

“In school, my favorite subjects were always mathematics and science, and I decided that Marine Biology would be my major when I applied to college,” she said.

“I am deserving of this scholarship because I am very determined to go to college,” Molly said. “I will be the first generation to finish college.”

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