Star-Adv: Wai’anae Schools Win 2016 Video Competition

Waianae schools victorious in student video competition
By Jayna Omaye
Star-Advertiser, April 29, 2016

A young man tears in half a large white sign on which “criminal record” is written in bold black letters.

A young woman smiles as she rips up a similar sign that reads “I will never graduate,” and throws it on the ground. Others with signs emblazoned with “bully,” “thief” and “alcoholic” follow suit as the camera zooms in on the words: “I Am Waianae Strong.”

The awards ceremony for the annual ‘Olelo Youth Xchange statewide student video competition was held Wednesday at the Sheraton Waikiki. Waianae High School winners areRachmaninoff Yeazus, left, Gena Martin, Aimee Nitta, Kamalu Alensonorin, Nakili Cachola and Giovanni Magofna. Photo by DENNIS ODA DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

The awards ceremony for the annual ‘Olelo Youth Xchange statewide student video competition was held Wednesday at the Sheraton Waikiki. Waianae High School winners areRachmaninoff Yeazus, left, Gena Martin, Aimee Nitta, Kamalu Alensonorin, Nakili Cachola and Giovanni Magofna. Photo by DENNIS ODA DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

The video project sought to “bring the community closer together,” says Waianae High School senior Nakili Cachola. “The message was just really powerful.”

Cachola, 17, and his classmates were among the top winners recognized Wednesday at this year’s ‘Olelo Youth Xchange student video competition. The Waianae High team was named the competition’s Expert Winner, a category for previous high school and college winners with professional experience. Their video, which took two days to film and about one week to edit, was part of a class project that sought to break down stereotypes.

The Junior Expert winners from Waianae Intermediate School are Jordan Gerard Watkins-Oka, left, Fabryanna Manumaleuna, Amee Neves and Samantha Caldwell. Photo by DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

The Junior Expert winners from Waianae Intermediate School are Jordan Gerard Watkins-Oka, left, Fabryanna Manumaleuna, Amee Neves and Samantha Caldwell. Photo by DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM

“We just took what everybody was saying (about stereotypes) and what you’ve heard the most,” said Waianae High senior Jiovanni Magofna, 17, who along with Cachola plans to attend the University of Hawaii at West Oahu to pursue film studies. “You hear it everywhere. It’s not directed to you but you feel it. Everybody can relate to it.” 

About 900 students and educators were invited to a ceremony at the Sheraton Waikiki on Wednesday to honor the winners of the 13th annual competition.

A record 909 submissions from 76 public, private and charter schools on Oahu, Hawaii island, Maui and Kauai were entered in the competition, which was established in 2003 by ‘Olelo Community Media to give local youth a voice to tell stories on subjects meaningful to them. It is the largest and oldest competition of its kind in the state.

This year’s competition covered seven broad categories, ranging from animation to minidocumentary and news. Nine other categories, sponsored by city and state agencies and other organizations, focused on issues such as traffic safety, drugs and healthy living. Students competed in elementary, intermediate and high school divisions and were awarded high-definition Sony digital video cameras. Judging — conducted by panels that included journalists, filmmakers and subject experts — was based on subject impact and technical production.

Students tackled newsworthy issues such as homelessness, hot classrooms and the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope.

Waianae Intermediate School students were named the Junior Expert winner for elementary and middle school levels for their story about a classmate, described as a star athlete and leader, who lived at the homeless encampment near the Waianae Boat Harbor with his mother until he was taken in by a community leader for one year. The video detailed the boy’s hardships and perseverance, and his choice to stay with his mother, whom he said never described their situation as homeless, but rather as “houseless.”

“I’m just really happy we were able to share his story with people who can learn from it,” said eighth-grader Amee Neves, 13. Her teammate, Samantha Caldwell, 13, added, “It’s important because we all need to help others that don’t have what we have.”

‘Olelo plans to air winning entries on cable-TV channels 53 and 54 and will post a list of winners online by next week. More information is available online at olelo.org/yxc.

Read the full article on the Star-Advertiser site.

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