MANOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since we first told his courageous survival story, Nicholas Iwamoto has been flooded with e-mails, cards and well wishes from around the world. University of Hawaii administrators were so touched by his positive spirit they gave the former UH student a four-year scholarship. He was forced to drop out of college and has not had the money to return since.
"Not many people could have survived the aftermath and the arduous journey you have endured," read one of many empowering e-mails that helped single mother, Kitty Iwamoto, survive the past three years. Her favorite surprise came from UH, which made the offer after hearing Nicholas' brave attitude in recovering from a vicious attack at Koko Head. They learned that suspect, Benjamin Davis, was allowed to attend college classes while Nicholas' eighteen stab wounds derailed his college dreams.
"Finally, he gets something he so richly deserves which is another chance to come back here and finish his education at Manoa and I'm excited about him finishing and becoming a history teacher which is his goal," said Tom Apple, UH Manoa Chancellor. While he recovered from his physical injuries, Nicholas kept his mind sharp by watching World War II documentaries. His grandfather and uncles served, a dream for Nicholas that died that day on Koko Crater trail. He says life lessons he has learned since, will make him a better teacher.
"I love learning about history because it always repeats itself and people say well, why do you care it's already happened? Well, it's going to happen again," said Iwamoto, who attended UH for two years. When he starts in the Spring, Nicholas will fulfill his grandmother's dying wishes that he complete his college education. U-H administrators say they're proud to have such an inspirational young man among the student body and they'll do whatever they can to accommodate them.
Therapy dog, Rapunzel, will be forever by his side. When Iwamoto gets his degree, he plans not only to teach history but to share his current life lessons as well. "Be grateful for what you have. You're going to school in Hawaii. It's not all about waves and bento, You have to study, too," he said. He hopes his message of inspiration will teach Freshmen not to take their lives or their education for granted.
Anyone interested in donating to the Friends of Nicholas Iwamoto Fund can visit any Bank of Hawaii branch.