The Final Presentation for the Letter to My Parents™ Contest in Hawai‘i was held on Saturday, November 18, 2017, where ten contestants recited their letters dedicated to their parents. The Contest was organized by the Kalamansi Books and Things, Filipino Association of University Women (FAUW), and Reiyukai America.

For this year's contest, celebrating its 5th Anniversary, a total of 261 letters from 17 different schools were submitted. The Organizing Committee invited ten contestants as this year’s winners—Rea Mei Acosta, Sofia Benachour, Shirley Chan, Maile Chock, Cameron Johnson, Shayna Park, Ferryle Paguirigan, Adrianna Pascual, Michael Puni, and Olivia Tueller—to present their letters to their parents, families, the general audience and the judges at the Hawaii State Library in Honolulu, O‘ahu.

After the letters were read, each of the ten winners received a $50 Gift Certificate along with a Certificate of Participation. Each of the contestants will be also receiving a “1 Year TestPrep Course Subscription” courtesy of BenchPrep.

Based on the guidelines, the group of judges selected three award recipients. The Bravery Award was given to Cameron Johnson, the Reflection Award was given to Maile Chock, and the Proposal Award was given to Shirley Chan. Besides the prizes mentioned earlier, each Award-winner received $500 as their award prize.

The judges were James Rumford (Writer and Illustrator), Deloris Guttman (Founder and President, African American Diversity Cultural Center Hawaii), and Allan Alvarez (KPHI 96.7FM / 1130AM). The event was sponsored by BenchPrep, Read 2gether Foundation, Hawaii Public Library, and Norman Sales. The community supporters were Sariling Gawa Youth Council, Inc., and Ishihara Enterprises, Inc.

“Promoting close family ties and strengthening the family as the basic institutional unit of every society is among the cultural and social values espoused by FAUW. FAUW is a proud partner and sponsor of the annual contest.” Stated Rhoda Yabes-Alvarez, President of Filipino Association of University Women.

Rose Churma from Kalamansi Books and Things commented, “We are honored to be part of this program that enables Hawaii’s youth to share their stories and realize the power of the written word.”

Noriko Sotta, Chair of the Reiyukai America National Committee noted, “We are delighted to see that this project is growing every year! We are convinced that this contest brings an opportunity to families to improve their communication. When the family is stronger, the community becomes stronger – and that is what Reiyukai America is looking for. Also, we are happy to see that participants from previous years are coming back to organize the contest. That is great! It is like we are building up a team of young leaders who care about their families and their community!”