Hundreds of Hawaii students dream big, win state contest

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii students shared over 850 ideas about how they would solve Hawaii's problems in the second annual Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation's "Inspired in Hawaii" Contest.

Students from across the state, K-12 entered video, posters and essays for a chance to have their ideas earn them some big cash.  Over $10,000 cash in prizes will go to over 75 of Hawaii's best and brightest students at the awards ceremony Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at the Ala Moana Center Stage.

"The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation sponsors this statewide contest to encourage our Hawaii students to dream big and help solve problems facing our community.  As evidenced in this contest, our young people have fresh, amazing ideas.  It is that kind of energy and enthusiasm we want to encourage our youth to express their voices and be part of our state's future," said Steve Gilley, president of The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation.

The contest awards program features emcees Carole Kai and Kimo Kahoano, and The Diamond Head Theater "Shooting Stars."  The prizes range from $25 up to $1,000 for winning students, many who attended the ceremony with family, teachers and principals.

At the ceremony, students will learn which entries were awarded prizes by the judging committee, made up of volunteers from notable local media and other organizations, including the aio Group, Hawaii News Now, Honolulu Academy of Arts, Nonstop Honolulu and the Office for Social Ministry.

The Foundation received 147 essay, 672 poster and 40 video entries from 38 schools across Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.  Students were challenged to identify an existing problem in Hawaii, offer a thoughtful solution to the problem, and demonstrate a clear connection with the life of Clarence T. C. Ching, whose story is chronicled in A Prophecy Fulfilled: The Story of Clarence T.C. Ching, by Lance Tominaga (Watermark Publishing, 2010).

A true rags-to-riches story, Clarence T. C. Ching over came many personal challenges in his lifetime, but he went on to become a successful developer, community leader and generous humanitarian.  He established one the most generous foundations in the state, which since 2007, has committed over $60 million in grants to Hawaii schools and non-profit organizations which serves Hawaii's needy.

"We are proud of this contest because we believe these youth are our state's future leaders," said Gilley.  "We are excited this contest celebrates their effort, as well thanks parents and the educators for inspiring students to dream big."

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.