High School Essay Contest winners

On Wednesday, May 24, 2006, Rosalyn Tonai representing the National Japanese American Historical Society and Sarah Sasaki representing the San Francisco Chapter of the JACL met with Barbara Brewer, English Instructor at George Washington High School to present awards to the students who submitted the winning essays that were submitted in response to the project co-sponsored by the NJAHS, San Francisco JACL and Nikkei Lions Club.

The competition was opened to all high school students attending a San Francisco, both public and private, to compare the 100 year history of Japantown in the Western Addition to a community of the student’s choice. Each of the readers indicated that there was a strong group of essays that the sponsoring organizations decided to award one first-place prize of $300 to Richard Ngo and an unprecedented five second-place $100 prizes to Kyle Chao, Graciella Bonilla, Michael Suguitan, Kevin Chan, and Rose Gao.

Steve Hirabayashi, who was unable to be present at the awards presentation stated, “The quality and level of the essays are too even to determine between second and third place.” San Francisco Chapter representative Sarah Sasaki echoed those of Hirabayashi, “With the overall rankings of the essays clustered within four points of each other for second and third place I am glad we were able to recognize this group of six individuals.”

At the presentation Rosalyn Tonai, Executive Director for NJAHS read off the names of the winners as Sasaki presented the checks and thanked the students who took the time to write and submit an essay. This project was a part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of Japantown in the Western Addition.