`Opio Celebrate Peace

Martin Luther King Peace Poem Contest.

By Howard Selnick

This is the second year of participation by Molokai Middle School students in the Dr. Martin Luthor King Poetry Contest on Maui. It allowed nine of our students the adventure of traveling to Maui. To enter this contest each student wrote an original poem dealing with peace.  There were first and second place winners in each grade level group.

In the Tavares center in Pukalani, Maui, there were a few hundred audience members including students, teachers, parents and guests.  Each school’s winners lined up beside a large raised stage awaiting their turn to read. The students’ name and school called each poet to center stage. 

There was nervousness; some of our team even said they would not read. Wouldn’t you be nervous to read your personal thoughts aloud to a very large group of strangers?  Yet at the moment that counted, every Molokai student stood up and read their poem. Each was received by applause from listeners who really appreciated their courage and poetry.  

This type of public speaking effort is priceless.  Our students now know they are more than winners – they are veterans.  Mayor Tavares gave each student a certificate of merit as they left the stage.

While waiting for the ferry to take us home, the students received a lot of positive support. Common sentiment during this discussion was that our students will be better prepared to meet their future professional responsibilities because of this and other public speaking activities.

We would like to congratulate Krysta Bocoboc, Justina Sharpe, Healani Mawae-Mollena, Abigail Adachi, James Duffy, Anuhea Tengan, Ka’iulani Laemoa, Fetuu Tilini and Susan Smith.

On behalf of Molokai Middle School we thank you for allowing our school to be part of the Martin Luther King
Peace poem contest.  We were inspired by the different poems read aloud at the awards assembly. 

Thank you Mayor Tavares; through her office staff, she graciously provided our students the cost of the ferry service to Maui. Thank you Mr. Zukeran for your efforts in promoting this activity and for lining up travel and working with the mayor’s office.

Molokai Intermediate School.



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