Segundo, Guerrero “Go For Broke,” win in essay contest

Seniors+Tiana+Guerrero+and+Sean+Segundo+were+two+of+50+national+winners+in+the+National+Education+Center%27s+Go+for+Broke+High+School+and+College+Essay+Contest.

Photo by Jaylin Kekiwi

Seniors Tiana Guerrero and Sean Segundo were two of 50 national winners in the National Education Center's Go for Broke High School and College Essay Contest.

PUKALANI – Two Kamehameha Schools Maui students will be traveling to Los Angeles to be honored for their placement in a Nisei soldier essay contest.

Seniors Sean Segundo and Tiana Guerrero won a ticket to the Evening of Aloha Dinner Gala at the Westin Bonaventure Grand Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 12.

The gala tickets have a value of $225 each, and the gourmet menu includes dishes from Chef Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s restaurants and Chef Akira Hirose of Maison Akira.

The students are also invited to attend a special pre-gala reception, where they will be able to personally meet some of the Nisei of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team as well as members from the Go for Broke National Education Center, who sponsored the contest.

The Go For Broke Organization’s mission is to gather and keep information about the American Nisei soldiers of World War II. Many of those men were from Hawaiʻi, including many from Maui.

“The idea is to keep a database so that when some of these men are gone – and some are already gone – people can access information about [the 100th and the 442nd],” librarian Ms. Ramona Ho said.

Ms. Ho received the contest announcement in her email and forwarded it English 12 teacher, Ms. Kye Haina. After Ms. Ho presented a quick refresher course on the Nisei to her students, Ms. Haina invited anyone interested to enter. The two who did, both won.

Segundo’s essay was selected as a “top three” essay in a competition that is otherwise un-ranked. As a special honor, his photo will appear in the evening’s program.

The Go for Broke National Education Center’s High School & College Student Essay Contest was open to students all over the country.

Junior Andre Wang of Punahou School is another Hawaiʻi winner who will be traveling to California.

Entrants wrote about their choice of three topics:

  1. Describe a Nisei soldier story or experience and explain why it is meaningful to you.
  2. Explain how the Nisei soldier experience is relevant to today’s generation.
  3. Present an innovative way of teaching the Nisei soldier story to today’s youth.

Segundo’s essay focused on the lesson of non-discrimination that could be used by today’s generation.

“It is one of hope for your generation to perhaps make the changes that still hinder society!” said Ms. Michele Freck, Development and Special Events Manager for the National Education Center.

Placing in the top three was not easy.

“It took me about two or three weeks to write my essay,” Segundo said. “I did over 20 drafts.”

Guerrero’s essay talked about the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye and how Guerrero drew inspiration from his performance in the 442nd.

In addition to the dinner gala and reception, the National Education Center is also helping with travel expenses, a hotel room for the students, and an extra gala ticket for their chaperon, Ms. Haina.

On Sunday, Ms. Freck will be leading a visit to the Go for Broke National Monument and Education Center in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The monument contains the names of more than 1,600 16,000 men who fought in these units, as well as their insignia and motto.

update 10/12: Andre Wang’s name was originally incorrectly spelled. We apologize for the error.