Aiea Student Shines In Bank’s Ready To Learn Essay Contest

Central Pacific Bank awarded iPad minis and 'Alex' stuffed animals to its top three essay winners (from left) Chanel Tanoue of Mililani, Kyle Hasegawa of Manoa and Henson Cheung of Aiea as part of its annual Ready To Learn campaign in partnership with Helping Hands Hawaii. With them are (back) Helping Hands Hawaii program manager James Li and CPB Pearlridge branch manager Katharine Kam. Photo from Melissa Moniz.

Going back to school each year can be expensive for many families, and Central Pacific Bank eased that burden in July for more than 1,000 keiki in the form of its Ready to Learn campaign to collect school supplies and monetary donations, in partnership with the nonprofit Helping Hands Hawaii.

The bank also gave children an opportunity to reflect – in 250 words or less – on exactly why school is important to them. Three winners emerged, including Henson Cheung of Aiea. The Pearl Ridge Elementary School student won an iPad mini and the CPB dog mascot Alex, in stuffed form.

Judged the best among writers age 7 to 9, Cheung stated that health, learning and fun all can be had at school.

“The school provides us with healthy food, such as protein, vitamins and calcium,” he noted. The field trips are fun, too, and he gave high marks to Ice Palace (“my first time!”) and Polynesian Cultural Center.

Learning is good stuff: “We learn science makes a difference on earth,” he said, and also listed spelling, fire safety, reading, adding, subtracting, geometry and fractions.

“I will share the importance of school to my two little brothers and younger sister, so they can be a better person,” Cheung declared. “With good grades, you might get a good job and earn money. When you set a goal, you might be No. 1 and be successful.”

Noting Cheung’s entry and those of winners Chanel Tanoue of Mililani (ages 9-11) and Kyle Hasegawa of Manoa (ages 6 and under), bank president and CEO John Dean said,

“Their well-written essays embody what the campaign is all about – the importance of a quality education.”