Go For Broke National Education Center announced the winners of its 2016 High School and College Student Essay, Poetry, and Video Contest on Oct. 1 at the 15th annual Evening of Aloha fundraising dinner, held at Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles.
“The purpose of this essay contest is to challenge the next generation of leaders to find connections to the courage shown by the Japanese American World War II soldiers still relevant in their own lives,” said Mitchell Maki, interim president/CEO of GFBNEC. “Engaging students in this story preserves the history and ensures it does not repeat.
“This year we welcomed the category of poetry. We received 62 outstanding poetry entries that express the author’s connection to the Nisei veteran story. The number of video entries this year doubled, as did the scope of our contest.
“Entries this year came from across the United States, including Hawaii, Illinois, Guam, Minnesota, Florida and Washington. We also received an essay from Israel, truly making our contest international. Overall, we had a total of 204 entries.
“GFBNEC would like to thank our sponsors for making this contest possible. A special thank you to Pacific Global Investment Management Company for continuing to be presenting sponsor this year. Their generous contribution is in memory of long-time philanthropists and business leaders Manabi Hirasaki and Sig Kagawa.
“The contest is also made possible by the generous support of two supporting sponsors: Ken and June Shimabukuro, and an anonymous donor in memory of World War II veteran Masao Takahashi. Without our sponsors, we would not be able to provide this opportunity for students.”
Hirasaki served with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, C Battery, and Takahashi with the 100th Infantry Battalion, C Company.
Serving as judges were Karen Ageno, Mary Jane Fujimura, Kris Ihori, Audrey Ishimoto, Jo Ann Kaba, Terri Mayeda, Clarice Miyamoto-Kim, Nancy Sagawa, Jo Ann Takemoto, Bob Taniguchi, June Taniguchi, Aileen Willoughby, and Linton Yee.
The winners, who were recognized at a pre-dinner reception, are:
First Prize, Essay, College/University — Lindsey Sugimoto, UCLA
First Prize, Essay, High School — Jeffrey Seidl, Livermore High School, Livermore, Calif.
First Prize, Poem, College/University — James Kei Ozaki, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
First Prize, Poem, High School — Josephine Lin, Moanalua High School, Honolulu
First Prize, Video, College/University — Mark Frederick, Penn State University of Altoona, Altoona, Pa.
First Prize, Video, High School — Kaitlyn Chu, Orange County High School of the Arts, Santa Ana
Second Prize, Essay, College/University, Satomi Rabottini, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
Second Prize, Essay, High School — Derek Morimoto, West High School, Torrance
Second Prize, Poem, College/University — Joan (Joni) Yamagishi, California State University, Los Angeles
Second Prize, Poem, High School — Todd Potter, West High School, Torrance
Second Prize, Video, College/University — Salvatore Angrisani, UC Merced, Merced
Second Prize, Video, High School — Lyndon Defoe, University High School Academy, Southfield, Mich.
Third Prize, Essay, College/University — Alessandro Luna Stanford University, Stanford
Third Prize, Essay, High School — Zachary Ishimoto, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills Estates
Third Prize, Poem, College/University — Nicole McIntyre, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Third Prize, Poem, High School — Kelly Baird, Calaveras High School, San Andreas
Remaining Top 30 finalists:
Essay — Alexandra Cormier, Cerritos College, Compton; Emily Yang, Kalani High School, Honolulu; Jay Narimatsu, Mid-Pacific Institute, Honolulu; Nicolette Rohr, UC Riverside, Riverside; Paloma Nakamura, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, N.M.; Samantha Hirata, San Francisco State University, San Francisco
Poem — Alyssa Minami, West High School, Torrance; Keiko Friar, Le Jardin Academy, Kailua, Hawaii; Natasha Ishaq, Franklin High School, Somerset, N.J.; Niki Borghei, New West Charter High School, Los Angeles
Video — Kaitlyn Janse, Guam High School, Guam; Kayla Sera, Glendora High School, Glendora; Natalie Mukai, South Bay Faith Academy, Redondo Beach; Taylor Riedley, Simi Valley High School, Simi Valley
To see the videos online, go to Go For Broke National Education Center’s YouTube channel.