HAW-50thmosaicAug. 21 marks the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's admission to the U.S., and to celebrate, state officials organized an entire year's worth of events and programs, many of which focus on education.

On Aug. 5 at the Honolulu Airport, Hawaii Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona unveiled a giant mosaic mural comprising more than 8,000 pieces of art submitted by schoolchildren from across Hawaii and the mainland U.S.

Occupying a great deal of the wall space between lobbies 5 and 6 in the airport's main terminal, the mural's thousands of individual pieces of art were created by students asked to depict what the nation's 50th state meant to them. Featuring many vibrant scenes, the mural is made up of waterfalls, families at the beach, hula dancers, musicians, bright plants and animals, and, of course, one of Hawaii's trademark sunsets.

"This mosaic, made by the hands of future generations of leaders, will become part of our history as a state," Aiona said at the unveiling. "I am inspired to see the unique creations by students from Hawaii and across the nation. The student depictions of 'what they love about Hawaii' are characteristic of the qualities we all adore about our island state."

In August 2008, the 50th Anniversary of Hawaii Statehood Commission started airing a series of radio, TV and Internet vignettes called the 50 Voices of Statehood, which feature the personal stories of 50 prominent Hawaii residents who characterize the islands' remarkably diverse cultural, ethnic, religious and sociopolitical backgrounds.

To view the vignettes or learn more about the commission's Aug. 21 capstone conference, New Horizons for the Next 50 Years, visit www.hawaii.gov/statehood.

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