Kaua‘i students honored for achievements

NUKOLI‘I — About 100 students from Kapa‘a High School, Kapa‘a Middle School, Kaua‘i High School and Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School made history Tuesday at the Kaua‘i Beach Resort.

Kaua‘i Area Complex Superintendent William Arakaki, with help from Tiffany Frias, hosted the students at the Kaua‘i District Recognition of Students’ National (and International) Achievement Awards.

“You folks are a part of history today,” said Rep. Dee Morikawa.

“When you return to school, be sure to thank your teachers for their work to enable you to achieve the accomplishments you celebrate today.”

Rep. Derek Kawakami echoed Morikawa’s sentiments, adding the work achieved by the students are a demonstration of the hard work being done by the teachers in Kaua‘i’s schools.

“This program identifies and gives public recognition to secondary students for their outstanding achievements in a national, or international, contest, competition or honors program,” Arakaki said in an email. “Some of the award recipients come from robotics tournaments, art contests, music and band performances and video production, just to name a few areas where the students excelled.”

He said previously, this awards luncheon was hosted on O‘ahu, where only a few of the students could attend.

Kaua‘i has 100 of about 500 students in the state who attained national or international honors at varying competitions and contests, Arakaki said.

Tuesday’s event was the first time, through Frias’ efforts, the luncheon was hosted on the students’ own island.

“Congratulations on your national level of accomplishment,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “Education is connected on Kaua‘i and (Arakaki and I) are on the phone all the time to make sure you have the resources which enable you to reach the levels you have.”

Carvalho said this was also an opportunity to thank the students’ parents, and grandparents, who work hard to make sure the students have the resources needed to succeed.

Among those recognized, the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School video production class under instructor Kevin Matsunaga captured honors at the Student Television Network conference in Texas, including honors in the Sweet 16, Music Video Contest, Movie Trailer Contest and Spot Feature Contest.

Sharae Cua, Kasey Emoto, Kaelee Esposo, Sierra Fernandez, Laura Koga, Railee Layosa, Melanie Matsunaga, Tylyn Nakamura, Lindsey Nakea-Tresler, Kailee Nii, Danica Ola, Mandy Sugihara, Cheyanne Tannery, Leanna Thesken, Lilly Thompson, Chase Tokita, Ava Wagner and Lia Yamasato were recognized, not all of the students being able to attend due to final exams.

Savannah Frisk, who participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair, was the sole honoree from Kapa‘a High School; she was also unable to attend the awards.

“This is the year of the ‘ukulele,” said Mary Lardizabal, instructor for the Kapa‘a Middle School Choir and ‘Ukulele Band who got help from Loke Sasil with the band.

“This is the first year the ‘ukulele band got gold at the Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, California.

For the choir, this year’s gold represents the seventh time they have returned with gold.”

Christian Agapao, Mallorie Aiwohi, performing the opening oli, Rachel Apana, Nevaeh Arruda-Kapu, Violet Asuncion, Faith Blalock, Sheila Blum, Caiden Bridges-Basuel, Serena Brier, Tiara Carvalho, Logan Cockerham, Shenalyne Dela Cruz-Llego, Nicki Domingo, Lucy Dunn, Kathy Egan, Erica Elterman, Heather Faretta, Chaye Gacusan, Nialani Green, Kirra Gwynn-Lono, Kaylor Hermosura, Zoey Kaneakua, Frances Kay, Chaston Keawe-Ragsac, Jai Koga, Cayson Lalin, Tia Lardizabal, Emmalani Lloyd, Victoria Mahikoa, Sabrina Marvin, Pearl Michel, Sariah Mokuahi, Destiny Navalta, Asianna Nelson, Alexis Ochoa, Chelsea Pablo, Elizabeth Pacheco, Patience Palmer, Jessa Perez-Jacinto, Jherena Perez-Jacinto, Sierra Perry, Kiara Rapozo, Ashlyn Sagucio, Logan Sokei, Cameron Spears, Kylin Sukehira, Mason Tabura, Sage Tanioka, Kekapuloa Thompson, Kasen Tone, Tiara Ubongano-Caspillo, Sage Watanabe, Hannah Whelan, Naomi Yadao-Alisna and Jalen Yago are the musicians who treated the guests to performances, some from their award-winning tour during the luncheon video-taped by Barry Nakasone for the Department of Education.

Tori Daligcon-Pomaika of the Kapa‘a Eagles Pop Warner program was recognized for her attaining the All-American Scholars Award through the National Pop Warner Little Scholars program.

“These students made national news when they were delayed from the Student Television Network by a storm which prevented them from getting to the conference in a timely manner,” said Jason Fujinaka, emcee for the event. “When they finally arrived, they had less than eight hours to complete their task in the Sweet 16 competition which usually takes teams 16 hours to finish.

The team of Meghan Fujimoto, Lucas Gushikuma, Alexis Hernandez,Trysen Kaneshige and Kristen Sugihara finished third.

Sugihara was also honored as a participant in the National MaxPrep Internships.

Travis Navarro, Kevin Jian and Ryan Valenciano were honored for the Key Club International Convention and Noe Murray advanced from the Kaua‘i District Science Fair to participate beyond the state competition where she earned Best in Category (Microbiology) by both the Queen’s Medical Center and the Hawai‘i Academy of Sciences judges who also presented Kevin Johnson Best Teacher.

Murray advanced to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

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