Peace Poems – Maui Celebration
Recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Contest recently celebrated its 19th year here on Maui – The awards ceremony, held on April 20, 2018 at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, presented the winners from approximately 500 Maui County student entries. I attended this Maui style celebration: proud parents and friends brought leis and balloons to recognize the students, who dressed in their best clothes and had the biggest smiles.
The non-violent approach to living in the world continues to be celebrated in one way through the words and insights of the students – in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here in Hawaii, Melinda Gohn has been the guiding light of the Peace Poem project.
Melinda has help from loyal volunteers.
More than 70 students, including four from Molokai, were recognized for their poems: thoughts and words of peace.
As part of the ceremony, Melinda had us close our eyes – and imagine the past.
Suddenly, we heard a voice resonate through the hall and opened our eyes to see the august Bryant Neal presenting Dr. Martin Luther King, J’s “I Have a Dream” speech! Fantastic!!
The Maui County grand prize for her award-winning poem “I Am Running” went to Olena Rondeau, a 4th grader at Roots School of Maui. She was present with a canvas painting donated by Maui artist Davo. Of the poem, Melinda Gohn said in The Maui News article about the event, “Rondeau’s poem uses immediacy with unusually perceptive images and metaphors to create an experiential poem uniquely reflecting Hawaii and the innocence of a planet at peace” ( May 6, 2018 p. B8).
I Am Running
I am running through a gardenia scented twilight
Beneath a raspberry, dark blue and purple sky I am running . . . .
Above me, a canopy of stars
Millions of tiny pinpoints of light
Shining in the night. . . .
Suddenly a meteor streaks across the sky
Red-yellow flames light up the night.
The falling star reminds me
that the world is full of magic”
by Olena Rondeau.
At the ceremony, Gwyn Gorg, President of the African Americans On Maui Association, congratulated Rondeau and all the contest winners and spoke of the importance of a peaceful Maui community.
Hawaii Governor Ige provided certificates for top winners, Mayor Alan Arakawa gave all winners a certificate, and the International Peace Poem Project gave a prize poster commemorating Dr King.
All the islands have such award ceremonies. The Molokai awards are set for May 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m at the Molokai Library; the Oahu awards are June 9, 9:30-11:30 a.m. at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.
Congratulations to all involved for recognizing the importance of peace in our hearts, our families, our schools, our community, and the world.
Aloha (in light & peace), Renée