CKMS students win video honors

  • Contributed photo

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School students and advisor Kevin Matsunaga, far right, beam after winning awards at the Olelo Youth Xchange Statewide Student Video Competition. From left are Mia Matsunaga, Jasmine Ruiz, Clara South-Carapetyan, Sofia Saunders, Kaiao Meyers, Stella Blanchard and Audrey Bechard.

LIHUE — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School students won an award in the state’s largest video contest with over 980 entries.

The 15th annual Olelo Youth Xchange Statewide Student Video Competition received submissions from 101 schools. The winning videos were created by students who attend schools across Oahu, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Maui counties.

Youth Xchange videos competed in 16 categories with five categories including mini-documentary, public service announcement, short, expert and junior expert.

CKMS sixth-graders Aubrey Bechard, Stella Blanchard and Sofia Saunders won first place in the Forest Inspired category for their video, “A Day In the Forest.”

“Their video was about how a girl was able to convince her friend to put down her phone and enjoy the beauty that the forest has to offer,” said Kevin Matsunaga, CKMS media teacher. “For first year media students in our beginning media program, Aubrey, Stella and Sofia did an outstanding job in putting together this short film that really sent out a positive message not only about how important it is to protect our forests, but that we also need to put away our electronics so that we don’t miss out on what our forests have to offer.”

The school also had two sets of finalists: in the PSA category, eighth-graders Mia Matsunaga and Jasmine Ruiz; and in the Start Living Healthy category, seventh-grader Kaiao Meyer and sixth-grader Clara South-Carapetyan.

“We have been fortunate to have had either winners or finalists in all 15 years of this contest’s existence,” Matsunaga said.

Winners were presented with commercial-grade Sony HD video cameras valued at nearly $2,000 each.

In addition, a total of 42 high-definition Sony digital video cameras valued at $650 each were awarded to the winners in the three age divisions Thursday at the Hawaii Convention Center.


John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or


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