St. Joseph Elementary School third-grader Aiden Tyrin is the grand prize winner for Hawaii in the 14th annual nationwide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Contest. Aiden Tyrin was selected from a field of more than 400 Big Island entries. Charmaine Shigemura, executive assistant representing Mayor Billy Kenoi, presented Tyrin with certificates recognizing his achievement from Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Kenoi. Tyrin also received a lithograph “Sailing II” donated by Sargent’s Fine Art in Lahaina.
Tyrin’s winning peace poem, “He Had a Dream,” weaves metered rhyme into a dream of inner freedom using ideals of racial freedom. The poem begins with “Martin had thoughts of you and I/which shall never die/he had a wish that was not like others/he wished that we would act as brothers.”
Tyrin concludes with, “his dream is still alive in you and me/to make it come true just set your heart free.”
In addition to Tyrin, the project recognized 60 Big Island winners, each of whom received a special edition prize poster of King and a certificate from Kenoi. The governor’s office provided certificates for nine special awardees and the Peace Poem Teacher of the Year, Kathryn Borris.
Some 200 people attended the awards ceremony Saturday at Prince Kuhio Plaza. The contest is to promote peace through writing and pays tribute to King, who was instrumental in using nonviolent means in obtaining civil rights for African-Americans and other minorities.
The International Peace Poem Project was started in June 1996.
The group attended the 2000 Jubillennium of Peace at the United Nations. More information about the project and the King awards may be obtained by going to the group’s web site at peacepoem.org or by calling Gohn at 875-0315.