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Student Contest

Official Rules

Supporting Sponsors

Ken & June Shimabukuro

Anonymous Donor In Memory of Masao Takahashi

Instructions to Submit

  • Please select from one of the two given topics below:
    1. The Japanese American WWII veteran experience is still relevant to our society today. Explore one of the ways this is true.
    2. Japanese American WWII veterans not only had the courage to fight against the enemy abroad; they fought for their civil rights at home. Our Missions of Courage and Compassion Program seeks to preserve the WWII Japanese American veteran legacy of standing up for equality through projects which address contemporary issues of equality. Explore how you stand up for equality as inspired by the WWII Japanese American veterans.
  • Please select to either: A) write an essay or B) write a poem or C) create a short video
  • Limits: Essays - 250-500 words; Poems - Max of three typed pages, 12 point font; Videos - 3-5 minutes. Please do not use copyrighted material in your videos, unless it is from GFBNEC’s video collection:
  • Please identify your school and grade/level (what grade you are/were in for the 2016-2017 school year).
  • Please include your phone number.
  • Please email essays and poems to by Friday, June 30, 2017. Must be submitted in in Word docs.
  • Please post videos to YouTube, and email a link to by Friday, June 30, 2017.
  • Video winners will be required to share original video files with GFBNEC. GFBNEC will own the rights to all essays, poems, and videos.
  • A panel of teachers and educators will judge the essays, poems, and videos.
  • Winners will be notified by Saturday, August, 5 2017.


  • This contest is open to high school (9th through 12th grades) and college (undergraduate and graduate) students.
  • If you were a winner the previous year, you are ineligible for entry.

Tips and Helpful Hints

  • If you want to pursue funding for your social justice related Missions of Courage and Compassion, see our Missions of Courage and Compassion Program to receive up to $250 towards your project. See our website for current opportunities.
  • GFBNEC’s Defining Courage Exhibition is located in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. Visit the exhibition to learn more about the Japanese American WWII experience.
  • For information about the Japanese American WWII veterans, please refer to our website. Interviews of more than 700 veterans are available online.
  • Participants who submit a video are strongly encouraged to include clips from our interview collection, found online here:


Cash prizes will be awarded to the top twelve student qualified entries as follows:

Essay, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

Poetry, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

Video, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

Essay, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

Poetry, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

Video, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$200: Second Prize

The twelve winners and a guest are eligible to receive two complimentary tickets* to attend our 16th Annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles and be published in a booklet at the event and on our website.

Thank you in advance for your support...

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