LIHUE — Fifth-grade student Alana Harburg from Kilauea School was awarded the Kauai grand prize in the 20th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Awards on Friday before an audience of some 120 people.
“We are delighted to receive work of this caliber from this young Kauai poet,” said Melinda Gohn, awards coordinator.
Officials honored 36 student winners out of a field of over 275 entries from six Kauai schools for their peace poems in the countywide competition organized by the International Peace Poem Project, an organization of volunteers.
The annual competition is to honor King, the civil rights leader who promoted nonviolent means to achieve social change.
The ceremony was held at Lihue Christian Church. Presenting Harburg with a certificate and prize were Kauai Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, Gov. David Ige’s Kauai liasion Carrice Gardner, former Kauai mayor and councilmember JoAnn Yukimura, and Gohn.
Harburg received an aluminum canvas painting, “Tranquility,” donated by Maui artist Chad Parento, and a certificate from Ige.
Gohn said Harburgs’s winning peace poem, “What is Peace?” employs a fresh immediacy, using metaphor and imagery to bring the reader into a world of natural beauty and revealing the oneness of nature at peace.
Hamburg’s poem begins, “Peace is the ocean waves crashing at dusk/ the wind blowing through the trees on a mountain.”
She continues, “Peace is the roar of a waterfall, a stream gently flowing … the rainbow after the storm.” The poem concludes, “The tree branches stretching on forever/Splashing in a puddle after it has just rained/That is peace.”
The Dr. King Peace Poem Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Koloa School teacher Enjoli’ Perreira. Ige’s office provided certificates for seven “Golden Circle” winners for poetic excellence. All 36 Kauai contest winners received certificates of achievement from state Senate President Ron Kouchi and a King commemorative prize poster furnished by the International Peace Poem Project.