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Entries Being Accepted by Go For Broke High School and College Essay, Poetry and Video Contest

Civil liberties and equality are the cornerstone of the American experience. Japanese American World War II veterans served their country at a time when the United States denied their civil rights.

High school and college students are asked to reflect on this theme in essays, poetry or videos in a contest sponsored by the Go For Broke National Education Center. In addition to cash prizes, 12 winners (top two entries from each category) and a guest are eligible to receive two complimentary tickets to attend GFBNEC’s 16th annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner and enjoy an opportunity to meet Japanese American World War II veterans and their families.

GFBNEC is pleased that Pacific Global Investment Management Company is once again the presenting sponsor of this year’s contest. Their contribution is made in memory of community philanthropists Manabi Hirasaki (World War II veteran) and Sig Kagawa. Supporting sponsors are Ken and June Shimabukuro and an anonymous donor in memory of World War II veteran Masao “Mas” Takahashi.

To enter, submit a 250- to 500-word essay, a work of poetry (three typed pages or less), or a three- to five-minute video on one of the following topics:

(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 that address contemporary issues of equality. Explore how you stand up for equality as inspired by the WWII Japanese American veterans.


• Identify your school and grade/level (what grade you are/were in for the 2016-2017 school year).

• Include your phone number.

• Email essays and poems to by Friday, June 30. Must be Word docs.

• Post videos to YouTube, and email a link to by Friday, June 30.

• Video winners will be required to share original video files with GFBNEC, which will own the rights to all essays, poems, and videos.

• A panel of teachers and educators will be judging the essays, poems, and videos.

• Winners will be notified by Saturday, Aug. 5.


• 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.

Helpful Hints

• If you want to pursue funding for your social justice-related Missions of Courage and Compassion, see GFBNEC’s Missions of Courage and Compassion Program to receive up to $250 towards your project. Visit the 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, refer to the website. Interviews of more than 700 veterans are available online.

• Participants who submit a video are strongly encouraged to include clips from the interview collection, found online at Do not use copyrighted material in your videos unless it is from GFBNEC’s collection.


Each of the 12 winners and a guest are eligible to receive two complimentary tickets to attend GFBNEC’s 16th annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 23, at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles and be published in a booklet at the event and on the website. (Note for out-of-town winners: Travel and accommodations are not included with the complimentary tickets to the gala.)

In the high school and college divisions, first prize for essays, poetry and videos is $1,000 and second prize is $200.

This program is not affiliated with nor endorsed by any school or school district. For more information, call (310) 328-0907 or visit

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