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March 3, 2021
  • My mother worked hard to send us to school.

By Maria Esther Aurelio

Maria Aurelio is a recipient of the Barbara Bongo Arthurs Scholarship at UH Hilo. This is her thank-you letter to donors.


I am a full time junior nursing student at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I am a dean’s-lister with a 4.0 GPA, and expect to graduate next year, in the spring semester of 2022.

After graduation, I will be taking the state licensure board exam in July 2022. As soon as I get my license, I plan to work at Hilo Medical Center to gain experience. Hopefully, I can go back to Ka‘u Hospital to give back to my community.

I am a hard worker, and passionate about pursuing my nursing career because I love caring for and helping other people. Nursing has taught me to be humble, compassionate, patient and empathetic.

Aside from being a full-time student, I am also a mother of two. Juggling my time as a student and a mother is challenging, but I have learned how to balance my priorities and master time management. Thanks so much to you, I am one step closer to my goal.

Reading Dr. Barbara Arthur’s history, being of Filipino descent and working hard to reach her goal to become one of the most respected people as she is right now, is certainly inspiring. I was born and raised in the Philippines. We immigrated to Hawai‘i in 2010.

I know that Filipino families value education so much. My mother used to tell me that the only treasure she can give me is education that was why she worked hard to send us to school. She used to tell me that education can never be taken away from me, and this will be my greatest weapon to face the world.

I am persevering to graduate college, as I want my family to be proud of me and to prove that their hard work, understanding, patience and support have paid off.

The Barbara Bongo Arthurs Scholarship at UH Hilo has lightened my financial burden, which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of school: learning. It has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as Dr. and Mr. Arthurs have helped me.

The scholarship enables Maria to focus on learning

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.