Posted on June 17, 2020 by Scot Allen
The staff of Na Pueo earned 15 state journalism awards this year, including two best in state, even though most of the students were in their first year of journalism. 10 of the 12 students enrolled were taking journalism for the first time last school year.
The Hawaii High School Journalism Awards is an annual recognition program sponsored by the Hawaii Publishers Association that evaluates journalism around the state. 13 schools entered the contest this year. Public and private schools are judged separately, and then the winners from each category are judged against each other to determine the best in state award. Results were delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, for the first time, Mid-Pacific was able to enter the awards in each of the 20 categories offered by expanding their repertoire of storytelling venues. Until this year, the staff did not produce any video stories or multimedia web-based stories. But a new push to expand into multimedia paid off with the Best in State Award for video from a story about music artists on campus.
At Mid-Pacific, journalism is an elective class taught by Jessica Hanthorn, a former newspaper journalist who is the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for the Language Arts Department. She said working with so many new journalists this year brought enthusiasm to the classroom.
"Even though they were still learning the basics of journalism, the students were always improving in their newsgathering and reporting," Hanthorn said.
Best in State:
Private School Division:
1st Place: Comic Strip, Video, Website, Editorial Cartoon
2nd Place: Feature, Sports, Layout/Design, Single Issue, Multimedia Story
3rd Place: Profile, Column, Illustration, Social Media
Most Valuable Staffer Award: The MVS Award for this year goes to Kamm Kojima. Kamm is a rising junior and was in her first year of journalism. Kamm stepped into the role of sports editor and improved the school's coverage of sports. She frequently stayed after school to report on games or events, and her passion and enthusiasm for journalism showed throughout the year.
Erin Goya, Editor in Chief: Erin took on the role of leader of the staff even though it was her first year in journalism class. Her leadership style made everyone work their hardest throughout the year on putting out a quality product. "Erin always encourages and motivates everyone to do their best," Hanthorn said.
Lance Iwamoto, a Mid-Pacific tech facilitator, was instrumental in leading the staff to the best-in-state video award this year. He spent weeks working with several students in the journalism class to show them the equipment and newsgathering skills for video production. The journalism program is grateful for his help and expertise.
Freshmen: Steven Aspera Jr., Kenna Kaneshiro
Sophomores: Danika Kusomoto, Kamm Kojima, Althea Lutz, Chelsee Sawai, Mia Nakagawa, Tia Shimabukuro, Siena Usui
Juniors: Erin Goya, Wyatt Cullison
Senior: Maia D'Amato