Memorial Scholarship Renewed by Midwestern Family

By: "Habele"

FM (691) 952-5005

US (803) 586-2358

Orpha Hapdei Habele Scholarship Winner.jpg

Orpha Hapdei: Habele Scholarship WinnA Midwestern family has renewed their support for a Micronesian girl  attending a small private school thousands of miles away in the State of  Yap.

Orpha Hapdei is a seventh grade student at Saint Mary's School in  Colonia. Her family is from the Atoll of Ulithi, a remote outer island  of Yap, Micronesia.

Orpha began attending St. Mary’s in 2011, through the Leona Peterson  (1926-2011) Memorial K-12 Scholarship. The scholarship pays for  three-fourths of her tuition and expenses at the private school in Yap’s  capitol city “Colonia.” The money was raised entirely by the  descendants of Mrs. Peterson. This last Christmas, the family committed  to do the same for the 2012-13 school year.

Leona Peterson in TTPI era Micronesia 1970s.jpg

Leona Peterson in TTPI era Micronesia 1970sLeona Peterson was native of Waterloo, Iowa. She led the Department of  Aging in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) during the  late 1970s and early 80s. At that time Micronesia was one part of the  larger US-administered TTPI which spanned the Central Pacific. In the  1980s, the region transitioned to political independence. Today, Yap and  its outer islands comprise one of the four Federated States of  Micronesia (FSM).

Following her death, Leona's son Paul sought a way to remember his  mother's legacy by supporting the islanders whom she spoke so lovingly  of. He reached out to Habele, a small US-based charity that provides  scholarships to low-income children across Micronesia The group also  funds after school projects and donates school books to students and  classroom teachers.

Habele Board Members meet with Saint Marys School Principal.jpg

Habele Board Members meet with Saint Marys School PrincipalPeterson gathered financial commitments from family members living  across Missouri and Iowa. "As the holidays approach this year I was  struck with a notion. I would like to keep the named scholarship going  year over year,' says Peterson. "To that end instead of sending out gift  baskets to family and friends I'll make a donation to Habele in their  name for the Leona Peterson scholarship fund."

Habele worked with educators and local volunteers in Yap to select  Orphai as the initial recipient of the Peterson Scholarship. According  to her sixth grade teacher, Molly Walag, Orhpa earned a GPA of 3.57 for  the 2011-12 school year. Her mother proudly mailed a copy of the girl's  honor roll certificate to Habele and the Petersons, who've sent a  post-Christmas check to Habele for next school year’s tuition.