Hikari Inaoka


Photo courtesy of Steve Braglio.

Rylee Dang, Former Features Editor

Hikari Inaoka has made a name for himself in the EHS community through his yearly origami fundraisers to benefit the Angel Network, giving back to other families in the district.

In addition to his passion for origami, Inaoka developed a love for aviation from his trips to Japan to visit his family, where he realized that the plane ride was one of the most exciting parts for him. In the fall, Inaoka plans to attend Penn State University on a full scholarship through the Millennium Scholars program, a scholarship designed for high-achieving STEM students. He plans to major in mechanical engineering, and holds a dream of becoming a pilot in the future.

Stinger: Were you involved in any clubs in school?

Inaoka: I was involved in Interact Club, I’ve been in that club since my sophomore year. I’m also the treasurer of Global Citizens Club. We just finished our fundraiser for the club and, for this year, we decided to donate our funds for our t-shirt fundraiser to a refugee relief fund in Myanmar, and a library in Africa so that’s the kind of stuff that I’ve been doing. I was also in the PA Math League club.

Stinger: What has been your favorite memory from Global Citizens Club?

Inaoka: I think just seeing all the people from all across the world that are in our school. Before I entered this club I didn’t really know that there were so many foreign exchange students in Emmaus High School. There’s people from Vietnam, there’s a girl from Myanmar actually who is a refugee, and we’re kind of helping her culture with our donations this year. There’s a diversity that I wasn’t aware of until I joined their meetings. That’s the most revealing thing that I experienced through entering. 

Stinger: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Inaoka: I like aviation, and also origami. As you know I did a fundraiser this year for the origami fundraiser and I was able to help the community by expanding my love for origami and using that to its fullest potential, and then helping out others in my community. So that’s one thing that I like and also I like aviation. I wanted to become a pilot, since like middle school, but my eyesight is very bad. I’m just keeping that dream set aside for now and waiting to see what my four years of college experience will bring me.

Stinger: What is one of your favorite memories from high school?

Inaoka: I think it’s the time when I first completed my fundraiser in freshman year. My tablet was actually stolen in the boys bathroom during my freshman year and that’s why I decided to do this fundraiser in the first place. It was my first electronic device, my tablet, and it was just stolen inside the bathroom. So my self esteem was pretty rock bottom. After that, I decided to do this big project and challenge myself to make myself stronger basically. So after I learned that we had raised over $100 for my first fundraiser, for my origami fundraiser, I was probably the happiest at that time. I was so excited that all these challenges that I’ve faced and overcame built up to this moment in my high school career.

Stinger: What was your favorite class that you took?

Inaoka: I think AP World History with Ms. Furry. I like history, and I like how the World History course goes over like everything that has been on this planet since from before dinosaurs to World War II in like six months. I like the tempo of the classroom. That was probably my favorite class in high school.

Stinger: Is there anything that you regret from your time at Emmaus?

Inaoka: I wish I had taken more engineering classes, per se. I’m majoring in mechanical engineering in college so I think picking more classes in my sophomore and junior year would have helped me gain more knowledge and experience in that kind of field.

Stinger: Is there anything you are going to miss about high school?

Inaoka: The school bus. I’ve been riding the school bus every day since before high school even started. In college there’s no such thing as school buses. The campus is gonna get so much bigger and classes aren’t gonna start at 7:30 anymore. I think everything’s gonna be a big change.

Stinger: Can you talk about the process of earning your Millennium Scholarship for Penn State?

Inaoka: It’s a full-ride program to Penn State. I applied in the fall of 2020 and I went through the process of writing essays and I got selected for a finalist interview in early March or late February. I didn’t really think that I would be accepted, but I was accepted into their program as one of one of 30 students from across the states to enter for this full-ride program. I was jumping up and down, I was so happy when I found out that I was accepted.