Kaua’i student sought for coin design

The Hawai’i commemorative quarter, it is hoped, will capture much aloha in very little space.

Hawai’i is finally getting its chance to design a quarter coin in the “Fifty States Commemorative Coin Program,” and Kaua’i is being asked by Gov. Linda Lingle to lend a hand in the design.

As the last state to ratify the Constitution and join the union in August 1959, Hawai’i has the last opportunity to design the coin that will bring a bit of paradise to everyone’s pocket change.

The commemorative coin program began in 1997, when the United States Mint implemented it with the idea that each state coin be issued in the order that the state joined the Union. Other states have included such iconic images as Elvis, on Tennessee’s coin and John Muir on California’s.

The Hawai’i state quarter will be released into circulation in the fall of 2008.

“Because it is such a small amount of space, you don’t have a lot to work with,” said Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau. “The design needs to be crisp and clean and something that is broadly recognized as representing the entire state.”

Many agree the most iconic image of Hawai’i is Diamond Head. “But Diamond Head represents only O’ahu or Honolulu,” said Julie De-Mond, a Kilauea resident who has been collecting coins for 20 years.

“I think there needs to be an icon of the destination and then something cultural added, like a hula dancer, or a lei,” said Kanoho.

DeMond said she would like to see a hibiscus flower, or a canoe, maybe set against Diamond Head. “Perhaps a rainbow, but then there is no color (on the coin),” she said.

Kanoho says she would prefer something specific to Kaua’i on the coin, but admits, “I am a little biased,” she said. “We have discussed things like maybe putting the (Big Island) volcano on there, but then there is always the possibility that it would stop erupting.”

“Some have suggested the Sleeping Giant or the Fern Grotto,” said Gregory Hunt of Honolulu, a coin collector for 50 years and member of the commission tasked to develop design themes for the quarter.

The public is invited to offer suggestions for design themes on the coin. Anyone wanting to submit a narrative describing his or her idea can go to: www.hawaii.gov/gov/commemorativequarter and follow the directions on the Web site.

“We have received over 60 inquiries from the general public already,” said Lois Hamaguchi, a spokesperson with Gov. Linda Lingle’s office.

The U.S. Mint does not allow such elements as state flags or logos, depictions of specific businesses or organizations, or anything considered frivolous, said Marsha Wienert, tourism liaison for Gov. Lingle’s office.

“The most important thing for me is making the quarter as simple as possible but distinct,” said Hunt. “Some of the state’s quarters are too busy.”

Hunt was appointed by Lingle to the commission partly due to his credentials as a collector for over 50 years as well as 30-year memberships in the Hawaii State Numismatists Association and the Honolulu Coin Club.

It was his idea to include students from the outer islands on the commission. “I am glad they are going to have someone from every island and every ethnic and religious group on that commission,” Hunt said. “I really wanted students to be a part of this commission as well. You need the older and the younger mix. That mix works really well.”

A student representative from Kaua’i is being sought for the commission tasked with devising design options for the coin. “That particular student will represent the island of Kaua’i. They will sit on the advisory commission and the commission is responsible for obtaining feedback from the community and making final recommendations for the coin,” said Hamaguchi.

Gov. Lingle formed the commission in mid-February to come up with design themes that will be sent to the U.S. Mint for consideration. Once the mint devises several designs from those themes, those will come back to the commission. The commission will then forward the final design choices to Lingle who will make the final decision on the coin.

“This is a fun way to make it open to the community, by having outer island student representatives on the commission,” Hamaguchi said.

Once the student from Kaua’i is chosen, Gov. Lingle’s office will pay airfare for the student and one chaperone to the first meeting on March 13 on O’ahu, and two other meetings that have yet to be planned.

The Garden Island newspaper has been asked by the governor’s office to select the student commissioner from Kaua’i. To that end, any high school student on the island interested in taking part in the process is asked to compose a brief explanation of why he/she would like to be on the commission. Approximate length of the explanation is 200 words. It does not have to be exactly 200 words.

Submissions may be sent to: Student selection process, The Garden Island, 3-3137 Kuhio Highway, Lihu’e, Hawaii, 96766.

Submissions can also be e-mailed to: aharju@kauaipubco.com

If e-mailed, make the subject, “Student selection process.”

The deadline for submissions is March 3.

COMMEMORATIVE COIN PROGRAM

Who: Interested Kaua’i high school students

What: Being Kaua’i’s student commissioner.

When: Deadline to apply March 3.

Where: Submit brief explanation on why they are interested to: Student selection process, The

Garden

Island, 3-3137 Kuhio Highway, Lihu’e, Hawaii, 96766 or e-mailed to: aharju@kauaipubco.com

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