Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui Student Wins $1,000 Grand Prize in International Arts Showcase

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Skylar Kuroda-Grand Prize Poetry Winner-International Contest

The Maui County Sister Cities Foundation announced the slate of winners from its local youth art contest, including Maui entrant Skylar Kuroda, who won the $1,000 grand prize in the Poets Showcase in the Sister Cities International Young Artists and Authors Showcase 2021.

The global showcase was open to youth artists, photographers, authors and musicians whose works underscored this year’s theme of “United in Hope.” The showcase attracted hundreds of entrants from around the world and was designed to promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation– one individual, one community at a time.

Kuroda’s entry was a poem titled, “Allied through Adversity.” Kuroda said she tried to tie together the overall theme and main message by showing how people unite through challenging circumstances.


“During any difficult time, especially now with the global pandemic, people are forced to adapt their daily lives and become accustomed to a new routine and lifestyle,” she noted. “In my poem, I chose to focus on how individuals from many different backgrounds and of various origins have come together in this stressful and uncertain time. Specifically, I did this by incorporating characteristics and sights that are unique to certain places and highlighting personal observations that I have noticed in the past year.”

Excerpt from “Allied through Adversity”:

Across our expansive world
People, of diverse genders and ages, races and dreams, band together 
From small island villages nestled under a creamy, cerulean sky
To the largest cities, bustling with energy
Bombarded by an overwhelming, thought-consuming fear
Brought forth by invisible organisms 
Attacking our physical being
Weakening bodies, while our minds strengthen
Disregarding differences,
Welcoming new ideas,
Tearing apart the strict mental routine that used to confine us,
And relinquishing comfortable habits
To the unpredictable unknown

Maui contest winners, who all went on to compete at the international level, were as follows:



  • 1st place – Skylar Kuroda (Seabury Hall), “Allied through Adversity”
  • 2nd place – Liviana Wilson (Seabury Hall School) “The Need for Tranquility”
  • 3rd place – Sophia Preiser (Seabury Hall School), “Linda”


  • 1st place – Ragni Zecena Escobar (Maui Waena / Maui High School), “Waterfall”
  • 2nd place – Mico Corpuz (Lahainaluna High School), Untitled


  • 1st place – Ava Notarangelo, Untitled


  • 1st place – Noah Haas, “Spread Your Love”
  • 2nd place – Ezra Tolbert (Lahainaluna High School), “Roads”

To view the Maui contest winners’ visual works, visit the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation Facebook page: Musical entries will be added at a later date.

For her international-level grand prize, poetry winner Kuroda received $1,000; her essay is also featured on the Sister Cities International website, at Maui winners received gift cards from the Maui County Sister Cities Foundation: 1st place winners received $100; 2nd place winners received $50 and 3rd place winners received $25.

The Maui County Sister Cities Foundation is a nonprofit supporting Maui County’s 24 Sister and Friendship Cities and one Sister Chamber. MCSCF fosters cultural, economic and educational partnerships to promote world peace and mutual understanding. For more information, call 808-242-6762.


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