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Students Take First In Poetry Contest

In a time of turmoil that seems to block out cries for peace everywhere, Hawaii continues to stage its statewide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Contest, which attracted more than 900 entries from Oahu’s future peacemakers this school year.

In the first-place winners’ circle were Ho‘ala School poets Storey Welch, Elliot Ann Evans, Jada Brouthers and Jayden Bullard; and Mililani Middle School’s Vanessa Nguyen, Kylie Jones and Allena Wong.

The 2015 grand-prize winner for Oahu is Le Jardin Academy seventh-grader Phillip Diamond, whose “Peace is a River of Color” won judges over with its “linguistic style and purity.”

Diamond read his poem at the April 11 ceremonies in Honolulu, including the following verse: “The glow of the people, the glow of the animals, the glow assuring one that to hate is not fate, but a state of mind.

“That glow, given time, will spread throughout generations, beyond yours, and even beyond mine.”

All poem entries will be attached to the International Peace Poem, considered the world’s longest peace poem, which originated in 1996 with verses by a 6-year-old girl on a visit to Maui. The poem now contains more than 175,000 lines from young poets in 120 countries, all urging peace.