On Thursday, October 24, 2013, the student essay award recipients and outstanding pro bono attorneys were honored at the 2013 Pro Bono Celebration sponsored by the Hawai`i Access to Justice Commission and the Hawai`i State Bar Association held at the Hawai`i Supreme Court Courtroom in Honolulu.
The essay contest entitled “Meaningful Volunteering and What It Means to Me” was open to students in grade 10 to 12 and required the students to describe meaningful volunteering, why it is important, and what it personally means to them.
The essay award recipients were:
Tram Ha, 11th grade, Moanalua High School
Christopher Kim, 11th grade, Maui High School
Da Hea Kim, 11th grade, Mid Pacific Institute
Zane Kunimura, 11th grade, Waiakea High School
Casey Nakamura, 12th grade, Kapaa High School
Benjamin Steeper, 11th grade, Aiea High School
Each student received a cash award of $500, which was generously donated by each of the following six law firms: Coates & Frey; Cades Schutte; Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel; Ashford & Wriston; Bays Lung Rose & Holma; and Case Lombardi & Pettit.
Outstanding volunteers selected by several legal services providers were also recognized at the Pro Bono Celebration. The volunteers and their nominating agencies were:
Jason Kim was acknowledged by Hawai`i Disability Rights Center for his excellent work in a class action case on behalf of disable students between the ages of 20 and 22 the opportunity to continue their education until age 22.
Catherine Taschner was acknowledged by Business Law Corps for being the driving force behind the launch of Business Law Corps, which helps entrepreneurs of limited means create successful businesses and new jobs in our community.
David Reber was acknowledged by Hawai`i Appleseed Center of Law and Economic Justice for being the guiding spirit of Hawai`i Appleseed Center since its creation in 2002 in providing critical support, advice, direction to the nonprofit organization.
Carol Lockwood was acknowledged by The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc. for serving as a pro bono mediator in complex family law matters, including a few divorce cases conducted via Skype for parties participating remotely, and mediating paternity cases onsite at the Family Court in Kapolei.
Samuel Suen was acknowledged by Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i and Volunteer Legal Services Hawai`i for his contributions to the economically disadvantaged in the community, from adult guardianships to adoptions and wills.
Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon Acoba opened the celebration. Welcoming remarks were presented by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and Hawaii State Bar Association president Craig Wagnild. Representative Della Au Belatti, a commissioner on the Hawai`i Access to Justice Commission, assisted in presenting the certificates of appreciation to the pro bono volunteers with Chief Justice Recktenwald. Closing remarks was presented by Intermediate Court of Appeals Associate Judge Daniel Foley, Chair of the Hawai`i Access to Justice Commission.
If you wish to read the student essays, they are noted below: