On October 28, the Hawaii Pro Bono Celebration livestream event not only celebrated the generosity of attorneys who ensure that access to justice is achieved but also the valuable volunteer efforts of seven Hawaii high school students. This year’s Hawaii Access to Justice Commission essay contest centered on the theme “Many hands make light work: How my work as a volunteer helped to build and/or strengthen my community.”
Senior Zachary Kao’s essay was selected by the Access to Justice Commission, and he was awarded $500 by Tamashiro Sogi & Bonner, A Law Corporation. During the ceremony, Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald recognized Zach’s essay titled “The Power of ‘Insignificant.’” In Zach’s reflective piece, he shares how his interactions with patients, as a volunteer for Queen's Medical Center, made a profound impact on him. Despite being tasked with seemingly mundane work, Zach realizes the joy that comes from “tiny but powerful actions.” His concluding thought highlights the power of volunteer work as he writes, “Although we don’t always expect it, what feels like the most insignificant of actions could create the most extraordinary of outcomes.”
Congratulations, Zach, for making a difference in the community! Special thanks to high school literature teacher, Mrs. Fong, for working with Zach to craft such an excellent essay!
On October 9, 2020, during this year’s online Hawaii Pro Bono Celebration, Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald shared that the purpose of the event was to “honor attorneys who volunteer their legal services to aid those in need” and recognize high school students who wrote “inspiring essays about serving the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Senior Valor Ahn’s essay was selected by the Access to Justice Commission, and he was awarded $500 by Case Lombardi and Pettit Law Corporation. During the ceremony, Hawaii State Bar Association President Greg Frey shared how impressed he was by Valor’s desire to serve with “purpose” at the Salvation Army, and his profound concluding thought that “everyone has a story, and some just need a listening ear.” Congratulations, Valor! Kudos to high school literature teacher, Mrs. Fong, as well!
Congratulations to Valor Ahn '21 and Cody Tomita '22! Their essays were finalists in the 10th annual Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation “Inspired in Hawaii” Essay, Poster, Digital Media Poster and Video Contest. Valor, Cody, and high school literature teacher, Mrs. Fong, were recognized during an awards program on Wednesday evening.
The contest encourages students to “dream big and make Hawaii a better place” by identifying a significant problem in our islands and proposing a creative solution. In his 3rd place essay, "Hawaii's Doctor Shortage," Valor discusses the implications of the shortage of physicians on the island of Hawaii and suggests a partnership between the County and local hospitals in order to attract and retain doctors. Cody's 2nd place essay, "A Liquid Solution," proposes utilizing an innovative "liquid speed bump" developed in Spain to combat the growing number of traffic fatalities occurring each year. Bravo to Valor and Cody for their well-researched work and effectively communicating their ideas!