The story of the Helen Hites Scholarship is a love story — of a loving mother, loving daughter and beloved son/grandson. Nothing displays the power of love more poignantly than this family's response to a terrible tragedy.
Helen Hites passed away last spring in a tragic accident. She was 32, a recent graduate of Kapi‘olani Community College, a nursing student, and a single parent of a 5-year old son, Phoenix. Helen's mother Mrs. Jackie Hites is now raising Phoenix, and considers him “a gift.”
Jackie, Helen’s family and friends have honored Helen’s memory with an endowed scholarship at Kapi‘olani Community College. Helen was an active member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a valedictorian at KCC and spoke at her graduation ceremonies in 2012. She was in her second year of the nursing program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Jackie especially treasures a handmade birthday card from Helen and Phoenix from November 2012:
"Happy Birthday Mom!
I thought you might like this one-of-a-kind handmade card by Phoenix better than a store-bought one. He drew the ‘heart’ himself. He said he wanted to write ‘love’ and a heart. Anyway, thank you for all you do for us. Your dedication to your family is truly admirable. You are an amazing and strong woman, and one heck of a great role model. We are truly blessed to have you in our lives and hope you feel the same. I hope I continue to make you proud and hope that I can become an inspirational woman like you someday!
Love, Helen & Phoenix”
Jackie shared a message that she recently wrote as a loving reply to her daughter’s card of a year ago. The Kapi‘olani scholarship was announced on Nov. 9, 2013 – Jackie's birthday.
“Helen, this card will be an everlasting birthday gift forever. Your death broke my heart, but I hardly have had time to grieve. However, I have had many joyful moments with your sweet son. Since my birthday is approaching, I began to think about ‘one-of-a-kind handmade birthday card.’ I doubted if I would ever see anything like it again on my birthday. Well, my beautiful daughter, I was wrong. Your father, Phoenix and I will attend the Phi Theta Kappa induction on 9 November, and they will announce the ‘Helen Hites Scholarship’ during the ceremony.
Although you will not physically be with us, your spirit was and always will be with us and has guided us toward the establishment of the scholarship. You appeared in my dreams the day I started the scholarship paperwork and you gave me a thumbs-up with a bright smiling face. A few months later, on my birthday, the scholarship will be announced. It will be an everlasting birthday gift and honors your legacy. Like you always said, ‘I hope you like your gift Mom,’ and this is the best one I ever received. Yes, my sweetheart I like my gift and thank you for being a part of my life. I am certain God will shine his light on you through this special recognition. You earned it baby. Rest in peace … I love you!”