Categorized | Education

WHBA awards scholarships; Masunaga’s essay

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

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

Colette Masunaga

Colette Masunaga

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.”

Masunaga was awarded $750. She currently is studying in Thailand through the Rotary Club Exchange program. She expects to attend university in California in the fall and study the sciences.

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 Masunaga’s essay:

Whether it be coincidence or fate, the bicentenial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 2009 has given the United States of America another life changing figure, President Barack Obama.

Lincoln always thought of himself first as a lawyer. For nearly twenty five years, he practiced law in the Illinois courts. Lincoln did not begin his career as a lawyer. Instead, he started off as a state legislature. Later on, fellow representatives encouraged him to pursue a career in the legal profession, and in the fall of 1836, Lincoln received his license to practice law.

Lincoln was driven by the need to serve the people, whether it is through politics, community service, jury duty, or working to improve conditions.

Abraham Lincoln was an inspiration to the American people not only because of his accomplishments as President, but because of his humble beginnings.

He was not born to a wealthy family nor did he receive a formal education. His formal education was about eight months! He was self-educated and an avid reader.

Creating a better America, and working for the people was what President Lincoln was to the people, and this is what President Obama is to the people now.

Abraham Lincoln is the man who freed the slaves two hundred years ago, and as we celebrate his bicentennial, we also witnessed the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American elected president. 

In the summer of 2008, I was in Washington D.C., working at the Capitol. The Lincoln Memorial was one of my favorite places. The statue of Abraham Lincoln that sits ever so regal in his memory, is in the hearts of American people. He is one of the greatest Presidents and upheld the values of our founders of this country. Abraham Lincoln went to the Declaration of Independence was not just a piece of paper, but also the moral fabric that enables liberty to prevail in shaping our nation.

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