West Coast Jamboree Names 2023 Scholarship Winners

The 23rd Annual West Coast Jamboree (a 501C-3), the largest education-based girls’ basketball tournament in the nation, is pleased to announce the applicants chosen as winners for its 2023 West Coast Jamboree Scholarship Program, the only one of its kind for any high school tournament in any sport in the nation, girls or boys.

Shortly after the West Coast Jamboree attained its non-profit status, the dream of the tournament’s founder David Jackson of establishing a Scholarship Program came to fruition. Despite the pandemic curtailing the Jamboree’s ability to fund the program the previous three years, a total of over $30,000 was distributed over four years prior to COVID.

This year the intent was to re-start the program with a goal of giving out three $1,000 scholarships to seniors that played in the 2023 Jamboree. Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors the Jamboree was able to award seven $1,000 scholarships.

Sadly, Jackson was unable to see the resumption of his beloved Scholarship Program as he passed away in 2023.

The winners are from diverse backgrounds and all more than met the criteria which included academic excellence in the form of a minimum 2.8 GPA, dedication to the sport of basketball, but not based on the on-court performances of applicants, sportsmanship in the form of teamwork on and off the court, leadership within their school and community, and financial need. Each applicant was also required to write a short essay about what life experiences have shaped who they are today, or what life challenges they have overcome in achieving their education.

In the end, the seven applicants awarded are all outstanding student-athletes and all were well above the 2.8 GPA threshold. They are from different parts of California and we even have the second winner from out of state.

The West Coast Jamboree is delighted and proud to have the opportunity to expand the program to include more than the goal of awarding three recipients.

The 2023 West Coast Jamboree Scholarship Program winners are:

Melanie Luh – Arcata

Melanie is a three-year varsity basketball and volleyball player, and also has played varsity tennis. She carries a 4.57 GPA and that ranks No. 1 in her class out of 230 students at Arcata. Melanie is the current student body president, the debate club president, the economics club vice-president, Asian American and Pacific Islander club vice-president, executive producer for the school news broadcast, is in Honors Orchestra, is active in local bold and canned food drives, and has volunteered campaigning for her local congressman. Melanie has been accepted at several major schools but will be attending Stanford. She is interested in law, government and public policy, and aspires some day to run for public office in her home town.

Josie Regez – Canyon (Canyon Country)

Josie is a four-year varsity player that carries a 4.86 GPA and is in the National Honors Society and California Scholarship Federation, Math Honors Society, was on the leadership team for the school’s UCLA bold drive, plus she’s involved in several other local community service-based organizations including community and beach clean-ups. Josie has applied to Northwestern, NYU, Columbia, Princeton, Rice, Harvard, North Carolina, Arizona and Michigan. “I aspire to go into sports business/management, combining my love for sports, leadership, and business,” Josie wrote in her application. “This avenue has always drawn my attention. I am so excited to begin exploring more about my interests in college.”

Kailyn Oldham – James Logan (Union City)

Kailyn is a three-year varsity player that carries a 4.02 GPA. This coming fall she plans on attending a four-year university and major in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. Besides basketball Kailyn is a member of the American Sign Language Club and was on the forensics speech and debate team. Kailyn had physical challenges as a toddler and adolescent which have contributed to her goal of wanting to work with children that are physically challenged. Ultimately she hopes to specialize in Pediatric Kinesiology. So far Kailyn has been accepted into nine universities but has not yet made a final decision.

Kai Oani – St. Joseph (Santa Maria)

Kai is a four-year varsity player that carries a 3.98 GPA and also is on the track team. Kai is very active in ASB (student government) at St. Joseph and was the class president her freshman, sophomore and junior years. She is also a member of the campus ministry. In her beautiful essay Kai wrote about her basketball journey hitting its “peak” when as a “Filipina” she was “given the opportunity and honor of playing for the Philippines’ National Team and representing the country on an international level.” Kai has explored the possibility of going to college in the Philippines and has a goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Josie Croy – Northgate (Walnut Creek)

Josie is a three-sport student-athlete at Northgate in varsity basketball, water polo and swimming and carries a 4.11 GPA. Her school and community involvement includes the Black Student Union at Northgate plus volunteering as a teacher’s assistant at a local elementary school, and volunteering as a youth swimming and basketball coach. Josie has been accepted at Cal Baptist, Concordia and Chico State, and is still interested in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State and St. Mary’s. She plans on studying secondary education with a minor in psychology and wants to become an elementary school teacher and also work with kids on improving mental health.

Hereiti Casey – Kamehameha Kapalama (Honolulu, Hawaii)

In her email response to being told she was a Scholarship Program recipient Hereiti signed off with “Aloha” – and why not? Casey is from Hawaii and from a school that for the past several years has taken advantage of coming to the mainland and playing in the largest education-based girls basketball in the nation, and they bring two teams. Hereiti is a unique four-sport student athlete that carries a 4.29 GPA while competing in varsity basketball, track and field (shot-put and discus) volleyball, and precision riflery and air riflery. She’s active in the Polynesia Club and Hui Ola Pono Club at school. In the community one of the things she is involved in is being on the district youth council for her church. Hereiti has been accepted to BYU-Hawaii, Utah, Hawaii-Manoa, Oregon State, Oregon Institute of Technology, Redlands and George Fox. Her future interests are a career as a real estate investor.

Alexes Collier – (Yreka)

Alexes is a three-sport student-athlete at Yreka where she not only excels in basketball but in golf and softball. In the three sports combined Alexes has garnered a combined five all league and two MVP selections, and four scholar athlete plaques. Besides serving on some junior and senior class committees, Alexes is part of the local YMCA Teen Leadership Council, and volunteers helping setting up fundraisers for Miner Power and Soroptimist. She is also in the process of building a 1,500 square foot putting green made out of artificial turf for the Yreka practice facility for boys and girls golf. Alexes carries a 4.107 GPA and plans on attending College of the Siskiyous for two years and continuing to play golf, basketball and softball. After Siskiyous her goal is to transfer the Chico State, where she has been accepted, and looks forward to its engineering program and majoring in civil engineering.

Past Winners:

Alyssa Andrews, Vintage-Napa
Abigail Andrus, Mount Shasta-Shasta City
Emily Andrus, Mount Shasta-Shasta City
Klara Astrom, Pinewood-Los Altos Hills
Emily Garcia, LACES-Los Angeles
Layla Gomes, Alhambra-Martinez
Naarai Gomez-Canby (Oregon)
Aileen Flynn, Orland
Paige Lyons, Eureka
Reese McKay Jones-El Segundo High
Zoe Stachowski, Redwood-Larkspur
Brookelyn Vance-Larkin, Calaveras-San Andreas

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