Student Writes Her Way To iPad Prize

Essay winners Chanel Tanoue of Mililani (left), Kyle Hasegawa and Henson Cheung. With them are 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 through 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 Chanel Tanoue of Mililani. The Mililani Ike Elementary School student won an iPad mini and the CPB dog mascot Alex, in stuffed form.

Judged the best among writers age 9 to 11, Tanoue stated that school gives her the “power of knowledge.

“Learning in school is more important to me than being the most popular girl, the fastest or strongest girl in P.E. or even the richest girl in school with the nicest clothes,” she wrote.

“Going to school and being smart makes me feel good because it gives me the confidence to be able to talk to others about anything, and I’m not afraid to try new and different things.”

She also lists getting along with others and being open to different opinions and ideas. “School also helps me stay organized,” she added.

Noting Tanoue’s entry and those of winners Henson Cheung of Aiea (ages 7 to 9) 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.”