ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY seventh grader, Logan Pinard ‘26, was recently named one of five finalists from across the nation in the 2021 Minoru Yasui Student Contest for his essay, “Refugee and Immigrant Experiences – Hamdi Ulukaya”, about the story of the founder of Chobani, the top-selling Greek yogurt brand in the US.
Sponsored by the Minoru Yasui Legacy Project, the essay contest is open to students in grades 7-12, and “provides a rich opportunity for students to explore the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans alongside timely issues including civil and human rights, racial justice, prejudice, and activism and advocacy”, according to the organization’s website. The theme for this year’s contest was the immigrant and refugee experience on national, state, and local levels.
“I decided to enter this contest because I have always had an interest in the US refugee immigrant affairs and I know how rough it can be especially now,” explained Pinard on why he entered. “I think that today lots of people think immigrants and refugees are taking up space in this country and I wanted to show through my writing that refugees help make a better America.”
Pinard was inspired to write about Ulukaya because of the way he continues to help and support immigrants and refugees, many of whom face similar experiences as his own. Dedicated to the belief that a CEO should care for their community and workers ahead of profits, he has a workforce with 30% refugees and provides six weeks of paid parental leave for his workers.
“I think it’s important for the younger generations in the US to understand that just because we are different doesn’t mean that we aren’t as good as others,” shared Pinard. “We have to begin changing what others feel about immigrants so that one day they will be our equals. I think that if we are open to new things we can make a better America.”
As a finalist, Pinard received a cash award and was invited to the Minoru Yasui Day Virtual Celebration, where the contest winners were announced. “I received $20, but I was also mentioned by the Minoru Yasui Legacy Program at the event and, honestly, the praise was the greatest part as far as reward.”