KAPAA — When Mainei Aloha Kinimaka walked into Kapaa High School’s classroom Tuesday morning, she never expected to be greeted with thunderous applause.
But the junior was.
“I was pretty shocked actually,” said Kinimaka, who was ranked among the top 15 finalists of the Great American NO BULL Challenge for which she was applauded by her fellow students. “It was all very unexpected but it was really exciting.”
As an organization meant to end bullying through peer-to-peer engagement, the GANBC is powered through the voices of youth through short video documentaries, PSAs and vines they create.
Her video, “He Loves Me Not,” earned Kinimaka a trip to YouTube Studios in Los Angeles, for the 2015 TVA set on Aug. 8.
“My video was about domestic violence and it was just highlighting the issues in an abusive relationship,” Kinimaka said. “Its purpose was to promote awareness.”
Kinimaka is the first nominee and entry from Hawaii.
“I feel like domestic violence is something that we should be addressing at a young age in high school and in middle school because I think it’s something that we learn about from a younger age so we can make sure it doesn’t happen when we start forming relationships in our later lives,” she said.
Although Kinimaka’s parents and school officials knew about the surprise a week in advance, the student was kept in the dark until her family, teacher and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. presented her with a certificate and plaque of congratulations for her hard work on Tuesday. Carvalho also had May 19 named after Kinimaka.
“I was really excited for her because she really worked hard on that video,” said Michelle Rundbaken, Kinimaka’s teacher.
KHS’s Parent Community Networking Center facilitator Nancy Borilez said Kinimaka raised awareness of domestic violence with her video.
“Some light needs to be brought to it,” she said.
Kinimaka will continue with video projects.
“It really means the world to me,” she said. “I’m really excited, it’s not something I ever imagined happening because it started as this small idea and it’s grown into this huge thing.”