HONOLULU -February 7, 2007- Senator Mike Gabbard honored Ms. Joy Lynch and former Kapolei Middle School students Flora Cross, Rebecca Manahan, and Tafia Taimalelagi on the floor of the State Senate on February 5th, 2007.
Gabbard said, "It was a pleasure to honor Ms Lynch, Flora, Rebecca, and Tafia at the Capitol. Ms. Lynch should be commended for all her efforts and dedication in helping these students find success. I'm sure the students have made their families proud and have bright futures ahead of them."
Ms. Joy Lynch, an 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Kapolei Middle School, was honored for her leadership role in the development of the USS Arizona Memorial Scholarship Speech Contest. Ms. Lynch had been moved to action by a visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the peace memorial in Hiroshima, Japan. She wanted Hawaii students to have the opportunity to speak at the Pearl Harbor memorial, so that she could one day pass on to future generations the historical significance of the events of December 7, 1941.
The first USS Arizona Memorial Scholarship Speech Contest speech contest was held on June 16, 2006. Flora Cross who is now a 9th grade student at Kamehameha Schools, won first place. Ninth grade Kapolei High School students Rebecca Manahan and Tafia Taimalelagi won second and third place respectively. As part of their award for winning the speech contest, each student received a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to present their speeches at the 65th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Symposium. On December 2nd and 5th, 2006, Flora, Rebecca, and Tafia became the first students in the nation to speak at a USS Arizona Memorial Museum Association event.