Signing Day: 40 make their college dreams a reality

Hawaii Baptist's Ally Wada, left, and Punahou's Jameson McKibbin and Sheena Yoshioka signed letters of intent at Wednesday's ceremony. Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore

Amalia Paige Hilliard saw the writing on the wall years ago.

Or actually, there was writing on the table. Year after year, season after season, young Paige sat at the entrance on Letter-of-Intent Signing Day for then-host Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance. High school seniors from virtually every sport filtered through the doors of the Honolulu Elks Lodge in Waikiki or the rode the escalator up to the Sheraton Waikiki Ballrooms. There were the PIAA volunteers, ready and able to assist. There was Paige, not even a teenager yet, greeting student-athletes on the biggest day of the young lives.

She was there at 5 a.m. with her mom, Amalia Hilliard. She just wanted to help. Today, it’s Paige who was on the other side of the table. She checked in shortly after 5 a.m., and by 6 a.m., she was a speaker and signee. The Punahou volleyball standout put pen to paper and signed with Louisiana State University, accepting a full-ride scholarship to the Baton Rouge campus.

“It is very trippy. I still feel like I should be a 12-year-old in the corner stuffing my face with pastries,” Hilliard said.

Amalia Paige Hilliard of Punahou was one of the speakers at this morning’s Education First letter-of-intent signing ceremony at the Honolulu Elks Lodge in Waikiki. Hilliard accepted a volleyball scholarship from LSU. Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)

She was one of 40 signees, mostly volleyball players, but also including athletes in baseball, golf and softball. Most of the signees, like all sports besides football, receive partial scholarships. Hillard’s full ride isn’t a common route for most prospects, but she had a strong support circle that included her family. An older brother, Dalton Hilliard, was a multi-sport standout at Punahou and played at UCLA on a football scholarship.

“I think my parents are one of a kind. If I had any other type of upbringing, not worse or bad, it might have been a lot different,” she said. “I’m grate to my two loving parents and my two loving brothers. For them to allow me to fall on my face, having those downfalls — “That really sucked” — and they’d lift me up. My mom would say, ‘You just gotta go up from here.’ “

A class at Punahou, Advanced Placement Environmental Science, sparked her interest in the field. Hilliard plans on majoring in Environmental Engineer at LSU.

“Holy smokes, this planet is dying. We’re trying to re-invent the modern world so it’s more eco-friendly,” she said. “I want to be a part of that.”

Malia Nam of Kaiser enjoyed her signing moment. The Kaiser senior will golf at USC next season. She placed fourth in the Carlsbad Golf/HHSAA State Championships in each of the past two years. As a freshman, she was already No. 7 at the state tourney.

“I like the big campus and the diversity. I like the weather there, also,” she said. “I want to experience the big campus and the big life outside of campus. The school has so much resources, and I’ll be surrounded by so much talent. Being able to go to LA on the weekend.”

Nam, a two-time Oahu Interscholastic Association champion, is prepared for the expectations. Her senior season of golf is still a few months away.

“There’s always huge expectations of winning states and tournaments, but this year, I’m going to try to have fun and, hopefully, win states,” she said.

Two-time OIA girls golf champion Malia Nam of Kaiser signed a letter of intent to attend USC. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Nov. 8, 2017)

Nam is planning to major in Business Administration with a minor in Communications. She is also interested in physical therapy.

“Traveling, maybe being a sports agent or physical therapist,” she said.

The signing-day event is hosted by Education-1st Hawaii’s team of Asai Gilman, Kawika Kane and volunteers Jenny Elmore, Amalia Hilliard, Keawe Gilman and more.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JENNY ELMORE

Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
Photo courtesy of Jenny Elmore (Nov. 8, 2017)
The ocean-side view at Honolulu Elks Lodge in Waikiki. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Nov. 8, 2017)

COMMENTS

  1. TooMeke November 8, 2017 11:39 am

    Good stuff. Congrats to all and wish you all the best.


  2. Punparent82 November 8, 2017 8:05 pm

    MAKE HAWAII PROUD!!
    Congrats to these hard working student athletes who have been rewarded for their academic and athletic skills! Make Hawaii proud!


  3. KOH I NOR November 9, 2017 11:52 pm

    Football will be sometime in February 2018. btw, what nationality is Malia Tam, USC?

    For you!


  4. KOH I NOR November 10, 2017 12:04 am

    Kaiser High School, that be a guess. English and Chinese. Am I correct? On Malia Tam.

    Still for you.


  5. KOH I NOR November 10, 2017 12:10 am

    Kaiser High School Cougars, Malia Nam. 2018 class. Still for you.


  6. KOH I NOR November 10, 2017 12:44 am

    Kaiser High School cougars: Yea, football. That!


  7. anywaaaays!! November 18, 2017 3:54 pm

    “Amalia Paige Hilliard of Punahou was one of the speakers at this morning’s Education First letter-of-intent signing ceremony at the Honolulu Elks Lodge in Waikiki. ”

    this is what the caption says. Education First?? EDUCATION FIRST?? Talk about the ILH agenda. Education First, the biggest troll in HPW hosting a ceremony for mostly ILH players who were recruited into their schools to be recruited into college.


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