When Justin Thomas drained his 3-foot birdie on the third playoff hole, he pumped his fist and tipped his cap to exuberant spectators in celebration of winning the 2020 Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua this January.
Elsewhere on the course, Cameron Viernes completed her paid internship at the tourney with something else to celebrate. The UH Maui College student spent the week answering telephones, making gift bags and nametags, and pointing golfers and spectators in the right direction. “I learned a lot about communicating with people, developing my people skills, and what it means to work my way up,” she says.
“A weight lifted off my shoulders”
Viernes is a Sentry Scholar, one of two UH Maui recipients majoring in biology, creative media, business administration, or natural sciences. Two more recipients from Maui attend UH Mānoa. As the program expands, Sentry will award 12 scholarships each year to promote workforce development.
“This scholarship has been really important,” says Maui High School grad Angelica Cabaccang, another Sentry scholar. “My sister and I are attending college at the same time, and it’s harder for my family to pay for college.”
Viernes adds, “It’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders. In high school, anticipating college, I wasn’t only getting ready for college life, but I wondered how I was going to pay for all this. It was such a relief to get so much help.”
Aloha from Wisconsin
Sentry, one of the nation’s largest business mutual insurance companies, was in the third year of a five-year commitment when it extended its sponsorship to 2030. “What we appreciate most about sponsoring the Sentry Tournament of Champions is fully engaging with the Maui community, and feeling part of it ourselves,” says Pete McPartland, Sentry president, CEO and chairman of the board. “It has proven to be everything we hoped for and more.”
Maui’s aloha spirit extended all the way to Sentry headquarters in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where employees wholeheartedly embraced Aloha Friday. Employees celebrated Maui-style, with a pau hana gathering as the second round of the tournament got underway. They watched the action on big-screen TVs, dined from a “Taste of Maui” menu, took fun photos with Hawai‘i-themed photo backgrounds and listened to traditional Hawaiian music.
McPartland says, “Building relationships on the island, we hope to build community, develop the workforce, and support basic human needs. After three years, Maui feels very much like home, and there’s no place like it on earth.”