The following editorial was originally published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Sunday, December 2, 2018 as part of the "Raise Your Hand" column in the Insights section.
By: EMERGE Conference Attendees
While adults were casting their ballots on Election Day, students from all across the state elected to learn and be empowered. At the EMERGE Student Leadership Conference, over 500 high school students and college freshmen heard from visionary local leaders from all walks of life. Not only did our youth witness what it means to be a leader, but they also discovered how to see beyond themselves for their future and the future of Hawaii. Before departing, students wrote brief letters addressed to the next Governor of Hawaii expressing how they would also take on tomorrow. These letters were hand delivered to the Governor’s office three days later. Here are some of them:
Congratulations for being in office. I believe we all hold a great responsibility living in Hawaii, so I will do my job by continuing to be politically active, especially during times of distress. I truly hope you use your position of power for the betterment of this state. Please listen to what we have to say and we will continue to show our utmost respect towards you. Thank you and good luck.
-Kaimele Kop, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama
Congratulations! I myself will be a leader by challenging myself to serve the less fortunate in our community. A people I especially sympathize with are the victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse. I will try and do more to make their plights known and assist organizations that work to help survivors of such situations. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope we can better Hawaii together.
-Sarah Tamashiro, Sacred Hearts Academy
Congratulations on being elected! I hope for the best for you and your term. I am a student from Pahoa High and Intermediate, and I will take on tomorrow by instilling an interest in STEM in our youth. I plan on bolstering our job outlooks and giving students something to be passionate about. I would like to extend to you a warm aloha.
-Harvey Tagalicud, Pahoa High School
Congratulation on being elected! You worked very hard to get to this point and so, thank you for being a leader and role model! Just like you, I aspire to be a leader. I will take on tomorrow by encouraging my classmates at Roosevelt High to be leaders themselves and to take with pride the spirit of aloha wherever they go. I will also encourage them to dream big and to look for ways to give back to the community here. Again, I would like to say congratulations and thank you for your hard work. I wish you a successful term.
-Sara Kim, Roosevelt High School
Congratulations on becoming the Governor of Hawaii. I hope you will lead us with passion and kindness! As you lead us into tomorrow, I will try to do the same. I will take on tomorrow by pursuing my passions about a greener, more sustainable Hawaii - whether it may be recycling on my own and bringing my own reusable bag or straw or encouraging my school and classmates to do the same. Once again, congratulations, and I know that you will lead Hawaii with the people in your mind and heart.
-Megan Okuma, Leilehua High School
Congratulations New Governor!
I hope that you govern and lead Hawaii to a better and more sustainable future! I will take on tomorrow by inspiring and empowering others to unite to achieve a vision for the better. I hope to influence change in my community on Oahu because I believe that the future is in my generation’s hands. I hope that you also listen and including the youth in your gubernatorial team.
-Stephanie Albaña, St. Andrew’s Schools