Shuhei Onishi from Japan is our ISV Spotlight Award winner for November! An inspiration to those around him, Shuhei show us never to give up.
Here at International Student Voice, we want to take the time to make sure students are rewarded for their hard work and dedication to making their campus inclusive and internationalized. We created the ISV Spotlight Award to put the spotlight on a student who not only cares about his/her campus community, but takes an active leadership role.
[box]Nominate a student for the ISV Spotlight Award! Just follow these easy steps:
1. Name of student
2. Student’s university
3. Student’s area of study
5. Write a nomination no more than two pages explaining why the student deserves the award.
6. Email firstname.lastname@example.org[/box]
The following nomination was written by Baylea O’Brien for the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (www.miusa.org/ncde). NCDE provides free information related to the participation of people with disabilities in international exchange programs. Shuhei Onishi attended Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Shuhei Onishi deserves this nomination because he serves as a role model for people of all diverse paths to live their lives with a positive and inclusive world-view as well as a focus on appreciating the simple things in our lives,” Davin Kubota, Shuhei’s English teacher at Kapiolani Community College said.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Shuhei Onishi was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disorder associated with accelerated muscle weakness, at the age of six. Since he can remember, he has always been passionate about English and sees it as a way to communicate to more people around the world.
After several trips to Hawaii, including one sponsored by the Make-a-Wish of Japan organization, Onishi self-funded and initiated his own abroad experience to college in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“I learned that it is important for me to claim what I need, what I should do, and what I would like to do. No one can understand what I feel without my claiming those desires,” Shuhei said.
Shuhei quickly became a leader inside of the classroom. “Shuhei grew linguistically and also cross-culturally. He was one of two international students in my course, and he and the other individual grew immensely and also helped to ‘grow’ the other students’ comprehension of diversity and inclusiveness. In actuality, Shuhei and this other student set the bar high for the other students to perform well and to do better,” Kubota said.
However, during his two years at Kapiolani “he went beyond classroom learning to fully engage with our campus and the local community,” Lani Suzuki-Severa, an International Student Counselor at Kapiolani Community College said.
Shuhei joined Kapiolani’s International Café and Club, a campus group dedicated to international understanding and global friendship. There he met students from around the world and volunteered at community and college-area events such as tutoring locals in Japanese, participating in a charity fundraisers, participating in cultural exchanges between members and local elders as well as assisting in a beach clean-up.
“If there’s something I can do for others, I would willingly like to do it,” Shuhei said.
For obtaining over one hundred hours of volunteer service, he received the President’s Volunteer Service Award Bronze and was initiated in to Phi Theta Kappa and Who’s Who among Students in American Junior Colleges. He also received the Financial Aid Pacific-Asian Scholarship through the University of Hawaii for having a GPA over 3.5 and demonstrating leadership, responsibly and service in the Pacific-Asian region.
After attending Kapiolani Community College for two years, Shuhei graduated with an Associate degree in Liberal Arts. However,
Shuhei gained more than a degree at his time at Kapiolani Community College. Shuhei created lifelong friends, connections with teachers and community members and gave his time in any way possible.
“To me, Shuhei’s leadership and compassion shows through in the way he lives his daily life with purpose, positivity, and courage. To me, his is a leader in the way he inspires and brings joy to others around him,” Suzuki-Severa said.
To read more about Shuhei and his experience abroad please visit Feature Person: Shuhei Onishi