Inspired in The Priory

Inspired in The Priory

Students Take Home Top Essay Prizes from Ching Foundation

The Priory's Upper School students took home top prizes from the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation during the 9th Annual Inspired in Hawaiʻi contest. The foundation's "Inspired in Hawaiʻi" contest encourages students in grades 6-12 to follow the legacy of Ching and to "dream big and make Hawaii a better place!"

Kennedy Kamaile Hanohano '19, Jenna Shigezawa '20 and Melissa Kang '20 took home cash prizes for their thoughtful entries at a ceremony on February 20 at Kahala Mall. Hanohano was awarded second place and $125 for her essay, "Comfort in the Commute," about the quality and dependability of public transit in the islands. Shigezawa also placed second and won $125 for her essay, "Waves of Awareness," which addresses coral reef bleaching. Kang was a third place winner and received $75 for her essay, "Using Micro-Units to Solve the High Housing Problem in Hawaiʻi," about O'ahu's housing crisis.

Contest entrants were encouraged to identify a problem they see in Hawaiʻi and then offer a creative, thoughtful solution through an essay, poster, digital media poster or video entry. Entries were judged based on content and theme, creativity and craftsmanship. The selection committee was comprised of representatives from PBS Hawaii, Watermark Publishing, Honolulu Museum of Art, and independent experts from the visual arts, written language and communications fields.

The Ching Foundation recieved more than 1,500 entries from across the state. Topics were diverse, including homelessness, bullying, recycling and pollution. From the entries, 90 students were selected to receive more than $20,000 in scholarship funding.

Since 2008, the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation has committed over $76 million in grants to Hawaiʻi schools and non-profit organizations that serve Hawaiʻi. Founded in 1967 by businessman, developer and philanthropist Clarence T.C. Ching, the organization exists to fulfill Mr. Ching's vision of helping people in need.

"Ching has a vision to help future generations," Shigezawa wrote in her essay. "The solution of promoting awareness in our keiki allows them to take control of their own futures and contribute to something larger than themselves."

English and Writing Teacher Stephanie Hudson escorted the three winners to the awards event to claim their scholarship funds. "This was an excellent opportunity to showcase our students' writing beyond the classroom," Hudson exclaimed. "I knew our students had important ideas to share. I am so proud of our great writers!"

Kudos to these talented students and Ms. Hudson for keeping with our school's mission to Kūlia i ka Nu'u (Strive for the Highest) and our vision to help children learn and grow – to be their personal best, engaged in the world and inspired to make it more humane and just.