Samantha Alvarado at Haleakala National Park
Mason Kekoa Nava Macloves was a happy baby who stole the hearts of everyone he met with his adorable smile and contagious laughter, according to his mom.
“When he wasn’t enjoying playtime with us, he entertained himself by sucking his fingers, biting the nose of his Laugh ‘n Learn Puppy, fiddling with the tags of his Taggies lion blanket, and occasionally watching an episode of his favorite show, ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,’” Almarie Macloves remembers.
After undergoing surgery in January 2016, Mason was stricken with sepsis, a condition arising when a person’s immune system responds to an infection so aggressively that it damages his or her own tissues and organs.
A team of doctors and nurses treated him around the clock, but their dedicated efforts were dashed. Mason died in the arms of his parents Almarie and Brad Macloves, surrounded by his loving family, two days before turning eight months old.
Admor HVAC, Brad’s employer, wanted to help the family cope with this terrible tragedy by finding a way to honor Mason’s life. The company established the Mason Kekoa Memorial Scholarship, which will be available to students entering any college in the UH System after graduating from Mililani or Lahainaluna High Schools.
Mason’s family and loved ones fervently hope that his light will continue to shine brightly through this scholarship, which will create opportunities far into the future for Hawai‘i’s youth. Samantha Alvarado and Kalani Stephens are the first students to benefit from this precious award, and they appreciate its magnitude.
Alvarado, a 2015 graduate of Mililani High, is an aspiring educator majoring in natural resources and environmental management. Mason’s scholarship enables her to focus on studies, and she is on track to finish her bachelor’s degree at UH Mānoa a year ahead of schedule.
“What a wonderful opportunity this is for a student like me,” said Alvarado, “and what a great impact it has on my life. I hope my efforts as a land manager and educator serve you well.”
Stephens graduated from Lahainaluna in 2013. The economics and Asian studies major also has his eyes on a career in education, aspiring to college professorship and hoping to launch a non-profit organization to help underdeveloped nations gain access to healthcare and clean water.
“Mason’s scholarship is life-changing,” Stephens said. “It has been a tremendous help to me.”