Sight is Beautiful marks 40 years: West Hawaii students place in state competition

  • Norman Sakata and his daughter Michelle display Sight is Beautiful posters created by West Hawaii students that placed at the state level. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Four West Hawaii elementary school students placed in the Lion’s Club’s Sight is Beautiful state competition.

Forty years ago, Norman Sakata took a Kauai-based art program for elementary school students and expanded it into an annual, statewide tradition to promote awareness of blindness and vision impairment.

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The Sight is Beautiful art competition has students from kindergarten through sixth grade all over the state creating posters with the theme of promoting healthy eyesight.

Judges had the daunting task of selecting winners from 1,520 entries. First place winners then went on to competition on the state level.

Anela Caluag-Delatorre from Holualoa Elementary School was awarded first place in the grade 5 division.

Paulina Cancino Magana from Konawaena Elementary took third place in grade 3.

Xavonei Kaminanga from Konawaena Elementary took third place in grade 1.

Kahaola Jonah Alip from Holualoa Elementary took fourth place for grade 2.

Two Lions Clubs on the west side of Hawaii Island — the Lions Club of Kona and the Kailua-Kona Lions Club — join together every year for the Sight is Beautiful program, now in its 40th year.

Sakata was at a Lions Club trustee meeting in Honolulu 40 years ago when he heard about the program being implemented on Kauai.

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“I asked why there wasn’t a state program. And they said it was impossible,” Sakata said in a 2019 interview with West Hawaii Today.

“Why impossible? They asked who was going to run it. And then they said ‘Well, you asked for it.’ It kept growing and growing to a point where what we see now is it is one of the largest projects ever run by the Lions Club organization.”

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