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Sacred Hearts student wins Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poem Contest

By Staff | Jun 4, 2021

Adiatu Rieth (third from right), a ninth-grader at Sacred Hearts School, receives her 2021 grand prize. To her left are Sacred Hearts School Principal Tonata Lolesio, Peace Poem volunteer Ellen Levinsky and contest Director Melinda Gohn. On her right are Teacher Crysta Kosianowski and artist Davo. Photo courtesy of International Peace Poem Project.

LAHAINA — Adiatu Rieth, a ninth grade student from Sacred Hearts School, received the Maui County grand prize in the 22nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Poetry Awards.

Rieth’s poem was selected from a field of over 350 entries.

“We are delighted to receive work of this outstanding caliber from this young Maui poet,” said awards Coordinator Melinda Gohn.

The annual competition, sponsored by the Maui-based International Peace Poem Project, is to honor Dr. King, the civil rights leader who promoted nonviolent means to achieve social justice and equality.

Rieth received a commemorative painting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. donated by internationally renowned artist Davo and a grand prize certificate from Gov. David Ige.

Thirteen Maui County students participated as Golden Circle winners and received certificates from Ige.

Hawaii First Lady Dawn Ige, Mayor Michael Victorino and Gohn delivered congratulatory speeches, and the winners recited their poems on a video available for viewing on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/peacepoem/maui2021.

Akaku Community Television is also planning to air the awards ceremony.

Some 60 students received certificates as finalists from Victorino and a limited edition, commemorative poster featuring the double-hulled sailing canoe Hokule’a sailing into New York Harbor.

The photograph of Hokule’a was donated by Photographer Justyn Ah Chong, courtesy of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Oiwi TV.

Gohn said Rieth’s winning peace poem, “Peace,” combines an extended metaphor with immediacy and memorable images linking humanity to peace.

Mia Brock, fifth grade student from Maui Preparatory Academy, was announced as the contest Grand Finalist, and Nancy Buchman from Montessori School of Maui was announced as the Dr. King Teacher of the year.

The project, comprised of volunteers with no paid staff, was invited by the United Nations to participate in Millennium Peace Day at the United Nations in New York in 2000.

For more information, visit peacepoem.org or call Gohn at (808) 875-0315.