WAIPOULI — “This is sooooo boring!”
Casey Nakamura clenched her tiny hands as the microphone picked up the fifth-grader’s voice and carried it to the depths of the Paddle Room at the ResortQuest Kaua‘i Beach at Maka‘iwa Wednesday.
Nakamura, the first place winner of the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a’s Four Way Test Essay Contest, was on hand to receive her award along with Jonathan Obiano and Bryan Van Cleave, the second and third place winners of the contest.
Dan Spriggs, one of the Rotarians who spearheaded the test, explained the Four Way Test was formerly hosted by the Rotary Club Community which produced winners from the school, district, state and national levels.
When this contest utilizing a set of behaviors/tenets practiced by Rotarians around the world was discontinued, Spriggs discussed the possibility of continuing this on a local level.
Dora Hong, principal of Kapa‘a Elementary School, agreed and the contest has been held with the Kapa‘a Elementary School fifth graders for the past five years.
“We had 70 entries from the 140-student population,” Spriggs said. “It took almost a full day to judge the entries. They were all well-written and making the final decisions was not an easy job.”
Using the tenets — Is It the Truth? Is It Fair to all Concerned? Will It Build Goodwill and Better Friendships? Is It Beneficial to All Concerned? — Nakamura said, “This is what you might want to yell during class, but thanks to the Four Way test, I won’t.”
Nakamura said the Truth is one of the questions you should ask yourself before screaming.
“Well, I know that screaming isn’t right and that I should probably not do it,” she said.
For her efforts, the fifth grader earned a $300 savings bond from the Rotary Club of Kapa‘a.
Obiano and Van Cleave earned savings bonds for $200 and $100, respectively.
“Is It Fair to all Involved? That one is pretty easy,” Nakamura said. “If I scream my teacher will be interrupted, my peers will lose concentration and maybe even the classes next door will be disturbed. That is not fair to disrupt all of those people.”
Nakamura said the teacher will probably hold a grudge if she yelled — not a sign of good will.
“Will It Be Beneficial to All Concerned? I guess not,” Nakamura said. “My teacher will not be happy, nor my friends, and my parents when they find out what I did. It will not benefit me either — all I would be doing is getting me in trouble.”
In addition to the savings bond, Nakamura was invited to share her winning essay with the Rotarians.
Spriggs was especially proud to announce Obiano and Van Cleave as winners in the contest, noting that in five years, these are only the second set of boys who placed as winners.
Nakamura said after going through the steps of the Four Way test, she was not going to yell, but find other means to express her frustrations.