Accolades News

Mid-Pacific "exceptional" video wins national CASE bronze award

"It is amazing what our first and second graders are learning and sharing." - Mid-Pacific Director of the Annual Fund Holly Iwasaki

Posted on February 12, 2020 by Julie Funasaki Yuen

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Mid-Pacific's "Exceptional Journey: An Inquiry Snapshot" video, featuring the amazing inquiry journey of Mid-Pacific first and second graders, won the 2020 CASE District VII Bronze Award for General Information Video/Best Video Feature. The video stood out as one of the best among a competitive field consisting of K-12 independent schools, colleges and universities in California, Hawaiʻi, Arizona, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Utah.

The award-winning video features Mid-Pacific teacher Coral Balubar's first and second grade students conducting inquiry research on the concept of change; research that was entirely guided and inspired by the students. Their intriguing questions about change as it relates to their growth as individuals, led the students to apply this concept in a seemingly unlikely direction. After learning from an orthopedic surgeon about how human bones grow wider, similar to trees, the class became interested in the concept of change as it applies to trees.

"Our study took a complete curve and went from their own physical and emotional changes, within themselves, to 'how do trees change?' shares Balubar during a video interview. "They came up with really amazing questions like 'Why do leaves change?' to really deep questions like 'Can trees heal?' and 'Do trees have feelings?'"

Mid-Pacific Director of the Annual Fund Holly Iwasaki produced the inspiring video showcasing the class' inquiry project. "Exceptional Journey" showcases what makes the Mid-Pacific experience truly special," says Iwasaki. "When we say 'student-centered,' we mean 'student-led,' 'student-directed,' and this video shows our students doing exactly this, finding what they are truly interested in. It is amazing what our first and second graders are learning and sharing."

The students conducted their own tree research on campus, went on research trips, and learned about Hawaiʻi's exceptional tree law that designates certain trees as "exceptional." The video chronicles each enlightening step along the way, and how the students worked together to create their own definition of what is truly exceptional.

Watch the award-winning video to learn more about how the inquiry method and deeper learning is central to the educational experience at Mid-Pacific:

Give to the Mid-Pacific Annual Fund today at For more information, contact Holly Imai ʻ96 Iwasaki at [email protected] or (808) 973-5051.