Left to right, top to bottom, Kubota, Ribao, Tanji, Paleafei Easter eggs.
The sheer numbers had our judges a little scrambled at first, but the overall Grade AAA quality of the work we received soon had them chirping with pleasure.
There was just one thing causing clucks of concern. For the first time in the history of our kids' drawing contest, we received entries from kids in the seventh through 11th grades. Unfortunately, we didn't have a category for the upper grade levels. So we hatched a plan to expand our contest, at least this once and took it to the boss for approval.
The preschool and kindergarten winner is 5-year-old Brandon Kubota, the son of Bert and Beverly Kubota. The kindergarten student at Momilani Elementary School really put his heart into his work, using his mom's craft supplies to sponge dab heart-shapes on the egg.
"I painted nice," Brandon said of his egg, and he put hearts on it "because I wanted to.
"I don't like to do painting because it goes on my fingers," he continued. "I like to color" with crayons.
For Easter, Brandon will color real eggs at his grandma's house. "Put them inside the paint and you can write on the Easter egg if you want to," is the way to do it, he explained.
A map of Oahu bedecked in spring colors and Easter motifs adorns the egg of Sonia Ribao, winner in the first-through-third-grade age group. Sonia, 8, is the daughter of Emerson and Shizuyo Ribao. Her third-grade class at Kamiloiki Elementary School all prepared entries.
"I got the idea," Sonia said, "looking at my map. Everybody was making bunnies." She instead, carefully "copied and made Oahu, and put bunnies on it so it would look like Easter." Everybody told her "it wasn't very good," and wouldn't win, but she held out for artistic integrity. "I respected my own ideas," she said, and it paid off.
Sonia enjoys all aspects of art. "I like to draw, paint and do art stuff. I like to swim everything but I'm not good at basketball."
Emi Tanji created a rainbow egg with a big-eyed something peeking through the broken shell. Her cheerful work was chosen out of the fourth-through-sixth-grade entries. Emi, the daughter of Joy and Lester Tanji, has never entered a KO! contest before. "Mom told me about it," she said.
"I like to just draw cartoons . . . and people." Art is her favorite activity because "You can do anything you want and can draw anything." She hopes to eventually make a living as a cartoonist.
When she's not drawing, the Momilani Elementary sixth grader says "I like to read science fiction. And I like to play any kind of sports."
The winner in the new seventh-through-11th-grade category is Tavesi Paleafei, a junior at Farrington High School.
Tavesi entered at the urging of his English teacher, Marie Hara, because he is always drawing. His schoolmates, he says, "Always ask me to draw for them, but I don't." The delicate tracery on his entry is a New Zealand style drawing, he explained.
Tavesi, son of Tavesi and Roase Paleafei, is a running back on the school's varsity football team and is a member of the wrestling team as well. "I want to go to college and play football," he says.
The winners each receive a $50 U.S. savings bond, a gift certificate from Waldenbooks and our special KO! T-shirt. Not eggsactly chicken feed.