jao essayFirst-place recipient Kenneth Hirscht (third from left) and second-place recipient Kevin Pan, students at Los Altos High School, were winners of the JAO essay contest. They are joined by (from left) Nikki Kodama, essay contest chair, Lynda McGee, administrator at Downtown Magnet High School, Joyce Nakashima, JAO president, and Ed Richter, teacher at Los Altos. Not pictured: third-place winner Sammi Wu from Downtown Magnet High School. The students wrote on the topic “Optimism Should Be a Priority.” See the winning essay in the “Columnists” section. (GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo)

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