Friday, March 20, 2015

Students’ vision of Hawaii’s future filled with concern and hope

“Hawaii is nearly a perfect place to live; yet it still faces some problems,” wrote Dallas Kuba, a fourth grade student at Manoa Elementary School. “Homelessness is one of our island’s biggest threats.”

“I love living in the state of Hawaii, but there are certain aspects that are starting to make me worry about the future,” stated Lindsey Millerd, an eighth grader at Waipahu Intermediate.

“In the next 50 years, Hawaii must focus on sustainability to continue to be the best place to work and live,” wrote Kiani Nishimoto, a sophomore at Waiakea High School.

Kuba, Millerd and Nishimoto are the three top essay winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest. The contest challenged the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping the future of Hawaii. Last December, lawmakers invited students across the state to create an essay, poster or video which answers the question, "What do you think needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live?"

If the winning essayists’ visions were clouded with concerns for Hawaii, they were also filled with optimism and solutions for the issues they saw facing the state. In identifying homelessness as the biggest threat to Hawaii’s future, Manoa Elementary’s Kuba saw more jobs, better pay and hotels for the homeless as solutions to the problem.

“If we can solve these issues, then Hawaii can probably be the best place to work and live,” Kuba wrote. “I love living in Hawaii and will try to make this the best place for everyone.”

A total of 456 entries from 16 schools were received from across the state. Winning entries were selected in each of the two categories: essay and visual arts, with winners selected for 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade brackets. Contest entries were judged by members of the Pacific Century Fellows, the Hawaii Future Caucus and the aio Foundation.

All student winners and their teachers were recognized at the State Capitol during a floor presentation in the House Chambers and were invited to attend a luncheon with Governor George Ariyoshi and the Hawaii Future Caucus in the Lieutenant Governor’s conference room.

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Governor George Ariyoshi's book, Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years, which provided a retrospective look into the state’s history and prompts the next generation to think about what social, cultural and economic roads can be taken to keep Hawaii moving forward in the next century.

The contest is a collaboration of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, Hawaii Future Caucus and aio Foundation. More information and winning entries are available on its website at

Hawaii: Next 50 Student Winners

Grades 4-5
1. Manoa Elementary - Dallas Kuba, Ms. Darcie Kajioka

Visual Arts
1. Lanakila Elementary - Teyshaun Rosales, Ms. Camille Sismar

Grades 6-8
1. Waipahu Intermediate - Lindsey Millerd, Ms. Cynthia Tong

Visual Arts
1. Waipahu Intermediate - Bryson Manuel, Ms. Cynthia Tong

Grades 9-12
1. Waiakea High School - Kiani Nishimoto, Ms. Donna Tanabe

Visual Arts
1. Waiakea High School - Kaydee Rapozo, Ms. Donna Tanabe

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