Go For Broke Announces Essay Contest Winners

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Taking part in an intergenerational flag ceremony during the Evening of Aloha gala were (from left): Sgt. Christopher Arakawa, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard; 442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans Masao Takahashi and Tokuji Yoshihashi; high school grand prize winner Christopher Lindsay; college grand prize winner Spencer Tanaka; Sgt. Chris Makinano, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard.  (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Taking part in an intergenerational flag ceremony during the Evening of Aloha gala were (from left): Sgt. Christopher Arakawa, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard; 442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans Masao Takahashi and Tokuji Yoshihashi; high school grand prize winner Christopher Lindsay; college grand prize winner Spencer Tanaka; Sgt. Chris Makinano, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) has announced the winners of its 2014 High School and College Student Essay Contest.

Thirteen students will share $6,000 in prize money, and the top 30 winners received complimentary tickets to attend GFBNEC’s Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner on Sept. 27 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles.

“The purpose of our essay contest is to encourage high school and college students to learn about the Nisei soldier story — which is truly an American story of patriotism, heroism, humility, and courage,” said GFBNEC President Don Nose. “In so doing, we hope they will have a greater appreciation of their civil rights, realize the sacrifices that were made for those rights, and be positive forces helping to safeguard those rights, which are the cornerstone of our great nation.”

College grand prize winner Spencer Tanaka shares how grandfather “Hoppy” Kawashima’s generosity changed people’s lives; high school grand prize winner Christopher Lindsay writes about how Nisei soldiers created a more tolerant and just world for today’s generation.

“I was overjoyed with the nationwide response to the contest, and I was simply humbled and overwhelmed by the quality of the students who entered,” said Chris Brusatte of GFBNEC. “As the main contact person with the student entrants, I found myself speaking to over 200 passionate, intelligent, and caring young adults. Our country — and our world — is in good hands as we move into the future.”

A total of 223 students from 53 high schools and 22 colleges and universities in 13 states participated.

Go For Broke is grateful to Pacific Global Investment Management Company and an anonymous donor for sponsoring the cash prize awards. Pacific Global’s donation is made in memory of long-time community philanthropists and business leaders Manabi Hirasaki and Sig Kagawa.

Serving as judges were four retired teachers: Nancy Sagawa, Norwalk-La Mirada School District and ABC Unified School District; Mae Puni, Redondo Beach Unified School District; Amy Tsubokawa, Norwalk-La Mirada School District; and Naomi Jue, who taught at numerous schools in Northern and Southern California.

The 30 winning essays were presented in a booklet given to each attendee at the gala, and have been posted on the organization’s website, www.goforbroke.org.

The winners are as follows:

First Prize, High School —  Christopher James Lindsay, Iolani School, Honolulu

Second Prize, High School — Dakota Chun, Iolani School, Honolulu

Third Prize, High School — Taylor Riedley, Simi Valley High School, Simi Valley

Fourth Prize, High School — Katrina Uyehara, West High School, Torrance

First Prize, College/University — Spencer Tanaka, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Second Prize, College/University — Leesa Kakutani, California State University, Long Beach

Third Prize, College/University — Francis Sugita, Pitzer College, Claremont

Fourth Prize, College/University — Royce Kurahara, UCLA

Fifth Prize — Zachary Ishimoto, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates

Sixth Prize — Ilene Gutierrez, Gahr High School, Cerritos

Seventh Prize — Mahya Bigdeli, Poolesville High School, Germantown, Md.

Eighth Prize —  Julia Schemmer, Norco Senior High School, Norco

Ninth Prize — Kelsey Ichikawa, Irvington High School, Fremont

Remaining top 30 finalists:

Shaynie Fukuda, Hawaii Baptist Academy, Honolulu

Kristy Ishii, UCLA

Alyssa Ishimoto, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates

Jhorna Islam, Oxford Academy, Cypress

Alyssa Isogawa, Ocean View High School, Huntington Beach

Christine Ito, University of Washington, Seattle

Elizabeth Lee, Oxford Academy, Cypress

Jasmine Lim, Whitney High School, Cerritos

Amy Nguyen, Oxford Academy, Cypress

Noah Rohm, homeschool student, Riverview, Fla.

Sean Segundo, Kamehameha Schools, Maui

Armando Tan, Whitney High School, Cerritos

Ty Tanioka, John F. Kennedy High School, La Palma

Jared Yamasaki, Valencia High School, Valencia

Joy Yamasaki, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

Allysha Yasuda, Fruitland High School, Fruitland, Idaho

Jasmine Zhao, Whitney High School, Cerritos

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