Best and worst trip, ever!

PUHI — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School media instructor Kevin Matsunaga said the recent trip to the Student Television Network convention in Atlanta, Georgia, was the best trip and the worst trip in the 10 years he’s taken students.

“The students all got sick, the day after the STN awards,” Matsunaga said. “There were less people who were well than those who were sick. You could tell where we where because everyone was coughing.”

Matsunaga said three students were diagnosed with flu, and they took seven students to urgent care.

“There wasn’t a day after the convention where at least one or more students were confined to the hotel with a chaperone because they were ill,” he said.

The flu bug, fortunately, did not prevent the 21 students with eight chaperones from doing great things at the STN convention, which wrapped up March 12.

Students at CKMS, the sole representative from Kauai, finished the convention in second place over Maui Waena Intermediate, according to a release from PBS Hawaii.

Close to 3,000 middle and high school students from across the United States gathered to compete in on-site, time-restricted contests in video journalism, television production, film-making, music videos, commercials and public service announcements.

The Hawaii school awards count was led by Maui Waena Intermediate with nine, followed by CKMS with eight and Waianae High School on Oahu with six.

Of the eight awards, CKMS earned three gold medals, including public service announcements with Nicole Matsushige, Javlynn Mexia and Destry Shibuya; anchoring with Napua Canales, Taylor Nishimoto and Kallen Wachi; and Crazy 8s Short Film with Napua Canales, Kolten Gusman, Mia Matsunaga, Javlynn Mexia, Kaycee Nakashima, Aron Tagulam and Shaelyn Tavares.

“We struggled,” said Shibuya. “We took about 30 minutes just to find a subject. We ended up doing a PSA on college access after we were about to go with another idea. But I see lots of ads on television, and I remember some of the college ads. We combined them.”

Tavares said they felt lucky to win the Crazy 8s honor.

“This was my first time at STN, and we were given just eight hours, working with two teams, to come up with the film,” Tavares said. “We were given the title — ‘True Measure’ — and an object — a small plastic ruler — which had to be used in the film. At first, we didn’t know what to do.”

Matsunaga said people talk about “authentic assessment.”

“This is about as real as it gets,” Matsunaga said. “The students are working against deadlines in all phases. They get three hours to edit, and if they go even a second past deadline, their entry is disqualified. They do everything. If they have problems along the way, they troubleshoot and work through it without discussing with the adults.”

Second place honors included spot feature with Kolten Gusman, Kaden Keep and Mia Matsunaga; nat sound package with Carter Chihara, Aron Agulam and Brent Torres; and convention recap with Kaycee Nakashima and Alaysia Navor.

Honorable mention honors for music video were earned by Kai Gokan, Herenui Punua, Shaelyn Tavares and Mia Thompson; and movie trailer by Kirra Carvalho, Dalson Cua and Erik Olsson.

“This means that of the 21 students who attended the convention, every one got something,” Matsunaga said. “There have been other good years at the STN, but I don’t think we’ve ever done this well.”

Thompson, a sixth-grade student, said after the hard work, it was a nice feeling to earn the award.

“We only had six hours to complete our video,” she said. “We spent an hour deciding on a storyline, two hours shooting, and three hours editing. It was hard because we didn’t know what to use, but winning the award was nice because we saw our hard work pay off.”

Following the convention, Matsunaga said the group spent a few days touring the area, going as far as New York.

“This was fun,” Shibuya said. “I was only one who had the 99 degree fever, and I couldn’t go to the natural history museum. But it was fun, especially seeing everyone praising snow in New York.”

Matsunaga said in addition to the STN awards, he learned that CKMS students are finalists in the 2016 Olelo Community Television Youth XChange contest with more than 900 entries being submitted.

The five finalist teams include Kichelle Oana and Ikaika Lanning; Nicole Matsushige; Kaycee Nakashima; Kaycee Nakashima and Mia Matsunaga; and Alaysia Navor and Kirra Carvalho.

Rounding out the spring break winning, Matsunaga said Nicole Matsushige was named first place winner in photography in the Kauai Museum Art Contest, middle school division. Dalson Cua finished second followed by Brent Torres and Mia Thompson in a tie for third place. Erik Olsson earned the Director’s Choice award.

Matsunaga said all of the video created by CKMS students at the STN convention can be seen on


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