Essay contest winners and Nisei veterans shared the stage at last year's Evening of Aloha. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)
Essay contest winners and Nisei veterans shared the stage at last year’s Evening of Aloha. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) announces its third annual student essay contest — with students having the option this year to create short videos as well.

The contest is open to high school (grades 9-12) and college (undergraduate and graduate) students. Cash prizes totaling $6,500 will be awarded to a total of 14 winners, including $1,000 each to the top four winners. Plus, the top 30 finalists will receive two complimentary tickets to attend GFBNEC’s 14th annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner this fall at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles.

Pacific Global Investment Management Company is once again the presenting sponsor of this year’s contest. Their generous contribution is made in memory of long-time community philanthropists and business leaders Manabi Hirasaki (World War II veteran) and Sig Kagawa. The contest has also been made possible by the generous support of two supporting sponsors: Ken and June Shimabukuro, and an anonymous donor in honor of World War II veteran Masao Takahashi.

For the first time, students will have the choice to either write an essay or create a short video. Participants can address one of three topics:

(1) Study the Japanese American World War II soldier experience and explain its relevance to our lives today;

(2) Research one Japanese American World War II soldier and highlight elements of the experience that are most meaningful to YOU;

(3) Analyze what the Japanese American World War II experience can teach us about the Constitution, rights and responsibilities.

All submissions are due by Tuesday, June 30. Essays must be emailed to Videos must be posted to YouTube, and the link must then be emailed to

This is the third year that GFBNEC has encouraged young people to explore their relationship to the Nisei veteran story. Last year, GFBNEC received over 220 essays from 13 states, more than 50 high schools, and 22 universities. Winners came from California, Hawaii, Maryland, Washington, Idaho, and Florida. GFBNEC is expecting an even better response this year, as word of the contest grows.

Essays being sought should consist of 250- to 500-word original compositions. Videos should be between three and five minutes in length. A panel of educators has been specially selected to serve as judges. The winners will be presented in a booklet at the Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner, and will be available on GFBNEC’s website,

The winners will be notified by July 31. For more information, contact Chris Brusatte at (310) 222-5711, or go to

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *