Local keiki earns spot on Sun-Maid Board of Imagination


HONOLULU (KHON2) — An 8-year-old from Waianae had a big surprise on Saturday. She discovered she won a seat on a special national council of the imagination.

Emma Irwin spent Saturday morning practicing for her dancer’s recital with her hula halau. Little did she know that her family was waiting outside to surprise her with some big news.

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“I have butterflies in my stomach waiting to tell her,” Emma’s mother, Ashleigh Irwin, said. “I’m so surprised that I didn’t reveal the secret.”

Ashleigh called Emma onstage and told her the good news: she’d beaten over a thousand other kids nationwide to earn a spot on the six-member Sun-Maid Board of Imagination.

Emma jumped up and hugged her mother with delight.

“We wanted you to get to (surprise yourself) with all of your friends and everyone who helped vote for you and supported you,” said Philip Irwin, Emma’s father. “We’re really, really proud of you.”

Emma entered the contest earlier this year.

“She submitted a creative writing story and she was chosen as a finalist,” Ashleigh explained. “They asked her to submit a video with all kinds of questions, and kind of put her on the spot with questions where she needed to be creative in the moment.”

Once the videos were released, the public could vote.

Emma stole their hearts with her enthusiasm and personality.

Now, she will travel to Fresno, California in April to meet with Sun-Maid executives and fellow board members to collaborate and brainstorm new ideas for Sun-Maid products.

“I have to do some taste testing and give some ideas on what their next thing should be,” Emma explained.

“They make a ton of flavors, but I thought I was having a raisin birthday cake. It’s a raisin covered in white chocolate and with little sprinkles on top,” Emma said. “Maybe with some little pop rocks and stuff so you can be like POW!”

She also won $5,000 for her college fund, $5,000 for her school to use to spark imaginations, and a year’s supply of Sun-Maid snacks for her entire school.

“To my grandparents, if you watch this, and to my hula friends, if you watch this later, to everyone who voted for me, I just want to say a big thank you. It’s really special to me . Thanks very much

Emma Irwin, winner of the Sun-Maid Board of Imagination contest

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Sun-Maid will soon make an official presentation of Emma’s award in front of her school.

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