Go For Broke

National Education Center

2024 High School & College 

go for broke legacy scholarships

Formerly known as the Annual Student Essay and Poetry Contest, the Go For Broke National Education Center’s (GFB) Legacy Scholarship and Lawson Iichiro Sakai Memorial Scholarship program invites high school and college students to apply for this opportunity to support their service and education endeavors. We are excited to have students explore and analyze the legacy of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II (WWII), its impact on contemporary themes (e.g., social justice, discrimination, civil liberties and democracy) as it reflects the challenges faced by minority groups during times of conflict. 

This year’s theme ofReflection and Introspectionis influenced by GFBNEC’s new NextGen Initiative, the National Torchbearer Program, which strives to apply the Go For Broke spirit and legacy to contemporary civic engagement and service learning. 

In addition to the scholarships, first place winners will be recognized at GFBNEC public programs and all winning entries will be published on the GFBNEC website. 

Applications are now officially closed for 2024 GFB Legacy Scholarships. 

We are currently reviewing application and will send out results to each applicant by Mid-June. 

How to Apply

TO ENTER: Submit an ESSAY (400-500 words), a work of POETRY (2-typed pages or less) or CREATIVE PROJECT* (video, music, fine art piece, etc.) on one of the following topics:

  • Privilege, Positionality & Power (The Three “P’s”). The American views of privileges, postionality, and power were tested during WWII, especially for the Japanese American community and Nisei Veterans. How does our nation continue to grapple with contemporary issues of the Three “P’s.” Offer your insights in addressing these identity and community-based dynamics.
  • Emotions & Engagement: How Our Emotions Shape Our Perspectives. How would you balance perspectives shared by your family, friends and what you see on the media? Define how this influences your concept of proving loyalty and/or being a “good American.”  
  • From Hate to Hope: The Uniqueness & Intersections of Identity-Based Discrimination. Examine how the ‘Go For Broke’ spirit and the legacy of the Japanese American veterans can promote racial and diverse identity tolerance and equity at both the individual and collective levels.
*A submission for the CREATIVE PROJECT may include a video, music, fine art piece or other creative mediums that connect the GFBNEC legacy to one of the topics listed above. Please see additional resources below about the GFBNEC story and its connection to contemporary issues. 

DEADLINESubmit entries by Sunday, April 14, 2024, 11:59 PDT.  Only completed submissions will be considered for the scholarships. If there are issues with the submission form, please contact [email protected]

Applications are now officially closed for 2024 GFB Legacy Scholarships.


  • Contest is open to all high school (9th through 12th grades) and college (undergraduate and graduate) students
  • Prior winners are ineligible for entry in the same category, but may submit an entry under a different category.
  • All applicants to the GFB Legacy Scholarships are also eligible for the Lawson Iichiro Sakai Memorial Scholarship.  Applicants are not required to apply for the additional scholarship, however, if you wish to be considered, please complete the additional section in the application.

Note: All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected by GFBNEC. Winners will be notified by Mid-June 2024. In order to stay informed on GFBNEC news and updates, all participants will be added to the eTorch online subscriber list.


  • Hear the first-person perspectives in GFBNEC’s Hanashi Oral History Collection of over 1,200 audio-visual interviews that provide valuable insight on the veterans experience. Visit goforbroke.org/hanashi, or our affiliated website, the Japanese American Military History Collective at ndajams.omeka.net.
  • Additional narratives, stories and impacts of the Go For Broke legacy can be found on the GFBNEC YouTube channel

Scholarship Prize Awards

Essay, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Essay, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Poetry, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Poetry, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Creative Project, High School Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Creative Project, College Division
$1,000: First Prize
$500: Second Prize
$250: Third Prize

Scholarship Honorees

Thank you to the following sponsors for their continued generous support: Pacific Global Investment Management Company in memory of WWII veteran Manabi Hirasaki and Sig Kagawa; Ken and June Shimabukuro; and Anonymous in memory of WWII veteran Masao “Mas” Takahashi.

Manabi Hirasaki

522nd Field Artillery Battalion, C Battery

“I just figured I was doing my share… I was proud to be with the 442nd.”

Sig Kagawa

Community Philanthropist and Business Leader

A strong leader with a lasting mission – getting others involved and invested.

Mas Takahashi

100th Infantry Battalion, C Company

Keeping his buddies’ memories alive.

Lawson Iichiro Sakai Memorial Scholarship

GFBNEC is pleased to organize the 3rd Annual Lawson Iichiro Sakai Memorial Scholarship, a part of the annual GFB scholarship, established by family and friends of the Nisei WWII veteran to recognize students with outstanding community service. One high school student and one college (undergraduate or graduate) student will be selected based on active participation and support of their community.

For 2024, a $500 scholarship will be given to each recipient. Only applicants who participate in the 2024 GFB Legacy Scholarship are eligible for consideration. Please complete application above to be considered for the Lawson Sakai Memorial Scholarship.

About Lawson Iichiro Sakai

Born in Los Angeles in 1923, Lawson fully embodied the spirit of courage, patriotism and sacrifice. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he tried to enlist in the military service, but was classified as an “ineligible alien.” When the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans, was formed in 1943, Lawson immediately volunteered. During his service he participated in the liberation of Bruyeres, France, and the rescue of the “Lost Battalion” in 1944, receiving a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and Combat Infantryman Badge. After the war, Lawson founded the “Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans” group and generously shared his WWII experience as a way of honoring those he fought alongside with. A dedicated member of the GFBNEC family, Lawson’s commitment to community serves as a driving force of this scholarship.

GFBNEC is honored to administer this scholarship on behalf of the generous family and friends of Lawson Sakai.

This program is not affiliated with nor endorsed by any school or school district.

Go For Broke National Education Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

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