Accolades News

Na Pueo earns 14 Hawaii High School Journalism Awards

Congratulations to the six-person student staff of Na Pueo who earned 14 awards at the Hawaii High School Journalism Awards on April 17.

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Scot Allen

Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 1.59.26 PM.png

First Place, Single Issue

Congratulations to the six-person student staff of Na Pueo who earned 14 awards at the Hawaii High School Journalism Awards on April 17. The Hawaii Publishers Association, a nonprofit media organization that promotes the publishing industry in Hawaii, hosts the annual awards. The Sponsors for the awards include the Hawaii Publishers Association, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, MidWeek, Honolulu Publishing, Nella Media Group, and Honolulu Civil Beat.

At Mid-Pacific, journalism is an elective class taught by Jessica Hanthorn, High School Language Arts Instructor and IB Extended Essay Coordinator. Na Pueo staffers include Payton Antonio, Abigail Yagi, Maia D'Amato, Kayla Marutani, Siena Usui, and Angelina Shaw. Here are their awards:

Private School Division
1st Place:
Comic Strip, Website, Single Issue
2nd Place:
Profile, News, Illustration, Sports, Infographic
3rd Place:
Layout, Column Review, Design

Best in State
1st Place:
Comic Strip, Single Issue
2nd Place:


Abigail Yagi, most valuable staffer

Hanthorn noted several members of the Mid-Pacific Na Pueo staff:

Abigail Yagi, most valuable staffer award:
Abby is a senior and first-year journalism student, but she really stepped up this year to make the paper great, according to Hanthorn. "She is always willing to try new things to make Na Pueo exceptional, including underwater photography for our sports section and infographic design for our back page."

Payton Antonio, editor in chief:
Payton is taking journalism for the second year, and she had some great ideas to improve Na Pueo. "Her main goal as editor in chief this year was creating a website, and she helped to create a quality product," Hanthorn said. "She encourages other students on staff to do their best. She also took on some difficult reporting assignments this year, which she approached with fairness and empathy."

Piankhi Robertson-Chambers:
Piankhi is a senior and contributes the artwork for the newspaper. His comic strip received the best in state award for the second year in a row. "The wonderful thing about Piankhi is that he actually is not enrolled in the journalism class, but he volunteers his time to produce professional-quality artwork," Hanthorn said. "We are grateful for his willingness to help out."

Judge comments in the best single-issue category:

"Excellent issue, Mid-Pacific! I thought the presentation of your content was fantastic, but more importantly, I thought the reporting was exceptional. I appreciated how the stories integrated a wide variety of sources from fellow students and faculty regarding issues that students care about. I was extremely impressed with the swimming star's story and how the writer made the story flow using candid quotes by the subject. I also thought the photos, illustrations, and infographic presented in this issue were fantastic. Keep up the great work, Mid-Pacific!"

Hanthorn is a second-year teacher at Mid-Pacific and worked as a newspaper reporter in a previous career. She taught journalism at Boston University and Syracuse University. "I tried to bring my professional and university journalism experience into the classroom in a way that is fun and engaging for students," she said. "It's essential for me that students learn to recognize the importance of journalism in today's world. The media is often under attack, but journalists are truly the watchdogs for society. In class, we often discuss current events, news values, and media issues as a way for students to develop as journalists and citizens."

"We focused this year on getting the digital paper up and running, and we just launched in December," Hanthorn said. "To be recognized as the best private school website and second in the state is a great accomplishment for our staff and really shows how dedicated they were to the digital product this year. The best single-issue award is something we are really proud of. This shows that our overall product meets high standards of excellence in journalism, which is what we strive for with every issue. We focused this year on basic reporting skills, as most of the students were taking journalism for the first time. Everyone is trying something new in our class, and the amount of work the students put in continues to impress me."

Next year, Hanthorn said, they will continue to improve the digital product by focusing on multimedia -- including video and podcasts -- while still producing a quality print product. The language arts department is also starting a new for-credit course called Writing for Media, and the students enrolled in that class could have their work published on Students enrolled in journalism, will still focus on producing the print issue as well as the website.

"It's great that Mid-Pacific plans to expand its the offering of media courses, as it's an essential part of today's society," she said.

Top image, L-R: Angelina Shaw, Abigail Yagi, Kayla Marutani, Payton Antonio, Maia D'Amato, Siena Usui.