Categorized | Education

WHBA awards scholarships; Tanaka’s essay


Malia Tanaka poses with Chief Justice Ronald Moon during the awards ceremony earlier this month. ( photo by Karin Stanton)

Malia Tanaka poses with Chief Justice Ronald Moon during the awards ceremony earlier this month. ( photo by Karin Stanton)

Karin Stanton/ Contributing Editor

Malia Tanaka 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.”

Tanaka took the top prize of $1,000. She will attend Chapman University in Southern California in the fall to study political science and environmental law.

She said she drew inspiration from her social studies teachers, who helped make Lincoln her favorite president.

“So it wasn’t that hard to write about him,” Tanaka said. “We get his message.”

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 Tanaka’s essay:

Two hundred years after Abraham Lincoln was born, he remains one of the most notable U.S. presidents of all time. His values, beliefs and legacy remain the foundation for the United States today.

WHen I think of “Honest Abe,” I think of that serious looking man with his tall hat and beard that we’ve all seen in pictures and I think of his famous Gettysburg Address. What also comes to my mind is a an who lived and governed by the true meaning of the U.S. Constitution, a man who rose from humble beginnings to become President of the United States and who led our nation during the Civil War. What I associate Abraham Lincoln with the most, however, is his contribution to the end of slavery, which changed our nation’s racial course forever. Today we all benefit from his efforts to unite our nation during a very dark time. If it were not for Abraham Lincoln, would Barack Obama be President of the United States today? Many others after Abraham Lincoln, like Dr. Martin Luther King, fought and continue to fight for equal rights for all, but in my mind, Abraham Lincoln was the first to turn our nation in a positive racial direction at a very critical time.

He stood for all of the values that make America  the great country that it is – honesty, courage, hope, hard work, and equal opportunity.

The Random House Webster’s College Dictionary defines “liberty” as “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control”; “freedom from external or foreign rule; independence”; “freedom from control, interference, obligation, restrictions , etc.”; “freedom from captivity, confinement or physical restrain.” To me Abraham Lincoln’s legacy boils down to one word, “freedom,” and we are all able to enjoy the freedoms that we have today because of Abraham Lincoln.

So Happy Birthday to Abraham Lincoln and God Bless America!

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