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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, May 26, 2005

Space Camp to help with lofty goals

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kahala Elementary School fourth-grader Grant Arakawa hopes another planet might hold the key to feeding all the hungry people on Earth.

Grant Arakawa

School: Kahala Elementary

Age: 9

As the shortest person on his basketball team, he'd also like to see if the absence of gravity in space would allow him to slam dunk.

Grant will have a chance to further explore these ideas this summer when he attends Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala.

The 9-year-old is one of 50 kids across the country to receive full scholarships to the weeklong camp, which aims to interest kids in math, science and technology through the study of space. The Aerospace Education Foundation's contest celebrates the 50th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Space and Missile Command.

Grant is the only winner from Hawai'i.

Although Grant would rather be an NBA All-Star than an astronaut, he is still interested in the program. "I decided to enter this contest because I wanted to see what it was like at Space Camp and how interesting it would be in Alabama," he said.

He also looks forward to learning more about space, since his knowledge is limited to what he has learned in school and movies.

Grant beat out about 300 entrants in his age group with a seven-page essay on how he would like to find an answer to Earth's hunger problem in space.

He wrote about how he had invented a planet called "Foodaland," where you can say the name of your favorite food and it will appear, and where the air is clean and "there would be no poor people begging for food or living out in the street, like the people I would see near my Mom's office."

He knows there is no Foodaland, but suggested, "since there isn't a land with endless food in this world, maybe there is a planet (that) does have lots of food and not as many people, so we could help feed our world."

Space Camp will be Grant's first time away from home, although his mother, Alison, will be staying at a nearby hotel. "I'm kind of worried, kind of excited, kind of both," he said.

• Who helped you? "My mom. She encouraged me," Grant said.

• What advice would you give to other kids who would like to follow your example? "Try your best to write the essay," he said. He spent about a month and a half writing and revising his.

Reach Treena Shapiro at tshapiro@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8014.