Categorized | Education

WHBA awards scholarships; Wong’s essay


Kolin Wong and Chief Justice Ronald Moon shakes hands during the award ceremony earlier this month. ( photo by Karin Stanton)

Kolin Wong and Chief Justice Ronald Moon shakes hands during the award ceremony earlier this month. ( photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

Kolin Wong was one of four Konawaena High School students to earn a West Hawaii Bar Association scholarship earlier this month.

The West Hawaii Bar Association rewarded the graduating seniors for their essays on this year’s Law Day theme – “A Legacy of Liberty Celebrating Lincoln’s Bicentennial.”

Wong, who will study at Pacific University in Oregon, won $500 for his essay. 

“I was really inspired by my family history,” Wong said. “My grandparents moved to Hawaii to escape the Communist regime in China.” 

The essays were judged by Chief Justice Ronald Moon, Third Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra, West Hawaii Bar Association member and attorney Vicki Kalman, Sen. Colleen Hanabusa and Mayor Billy Kenoi. 

A total of $2,500 was awarded in scholarships.

Here is Wong’s essay:

Everyone knows Abraham Lincoln. He was a tall man with big hands, big feet and the kindest heart. He was an avid reader who loved to laugh and tell funny stories. He was poor and had to work very hard on his family’s farm. I remember studying about Abraham Lincoln in kindergarten and being impressed with the fact that he would walk miles and miles to borrow a book because he loved to read. As the sixteenth president of the United States, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which gave slaves their freedom. I feel this was his greatest accomplishment and this is his legacy to America.

President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation has personally had a direct impact on my family. My paternal grandparents immigrated from mainland China. They set off on their journey  to America in hopes of living in a democracy where they could raise a family. My grandparents arrived in the United States speaking only Chinese and with the determination to succeed. Like Lincoln, they were poor and they had to work very hard. Eventually, they were able to open a little diner in Flagstaff, Arizona. Their five children all graduated from college and became professionals. Lincoln’s Legacy of Liberty has allowed my dad, my uncles and my aunt to compete, thrive and succeed in jobs regardless of their ethnicity. Because of President Lincoln believing in equality for all, my family and other families such as mine have had the opportunity to prosper.

I am thankful to live in America. I feel we are very fortunate to have had such a great leader as Abraham Lincoln whose wisdom and foresight still impact lives of  people today. As citizens of the United States of America, it is our responaibility to carry on this Legacy of Liberty for all.

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