05/12/17 – My Hawai’i, 2017 Student Environmental Writing Contest Winners Announced

Posted on May 12, 2017 in Aquatic Resources, Media, News Releases

News Release


For Immediate News Release May 12, 2017


HONOLULU —  The 25 winners of the 11th annual My Hawai‘i Story Contest were announced today. My Hawai‘i is an annual environmental writing contest for middle school students in Grades 6, 7, and 8, from across the state. The top 25 poems and short stories were selected from 305 submissions and will be published in an anthology that is distributed to schools, libraries statewide and online on Hawai’i Conservation Alliance (HCA) site.

The theme of this year’s contest is, “He Wa’a, He Moku”- Mālama Honua, celebrating the return of Hokule’a to Hawai’i from the Worldwide Voyage.

Winners and their schools are:

–      Brooklyn Aipoalani, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Taylor AmalatoKaimuki Christian School

–      Connor Arakaki, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Cameren Banis, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Grace Bostock, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Kylie Chock, Hawaii Baptist Academy

–      Jamie Cummings, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Roisin Darby, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Morgan Davis, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Ella GibsonKamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Koa Higgins, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Jaeden JimenezKamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Gabriel Kalama, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Kamaha’o LiuHawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Chase Kamikawa, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Lyla KaneshiroS. W. King Intermediate

–      Katherine Payne, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Wainohia PelosoKamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Ella Prado, Hawaii Preparatory Academy

–      Tory Refamonte, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Chloe SylvaKamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Quincy TamaribuchiKamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

–      Johnsen Uwekoolani, Kamehameha Schools Maui

–      ‘Ala’i Williams, Holy Nativity School

–      Noah Zitz, Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School

The winners will be presented with awards and prizes at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference on July 17, 2017 at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu.

Mahalo to all the participating students, schools, and teachers!

The students’ writing represents their personal reflections on the environment, cultural values, kuleana, stewardship, and place-based writing, and contributes to a collection of youth literature that is unique to Hawai‘i. To date, 275 middle school students have had their stories and poems on the environment published, and the number grows each year. While academic testing provides a measure of content knowledge, creative writing and this writing initiative captures and shares Hawai’i students’ thoughts, passions, beliefs, concerns, and values.

The My Hawai‘i Story Contest provides an educational approach that develops interdisciplinary thinkers. Many of the stories and poems include knowledge from diverse cultural backgrounds, providing good examples of successful collaborations that integrate traditional cultural values and contemporary life in Hawai‘i. The imaginative visions of middle school students reveal their insights on Hawaii’s environment today and their dreams for tomorrow. The future of conservation and environmental leadership lies firmly in the hands our haumana, the young people of Hawai‘i. This important initiative encourages, nurtures, cultivates, and promotes future generations to develop a sense of responsibility to care for and protect Hawaii’s environment. 

For the past 11 years, the Pacific Writers’ Connection (PWC), the Hawai‘I Conservation Alliance, and the following state and federal agencies, have co-sponsored the My Hawai‘i Story Contest:

–      Hawai‘i Coastal Zone Management Program

–      Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance

–      Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance Foundation

–      Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources

–        Division of Forestry and Wildlife

–        Division of Aquatic Resources

–      Hawai‘i Department of Education

–      Hawai‘i Environmental Education Alliance

–      Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

–      Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park-Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes NP

–      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

–      The Pacific Writers’ Connection

–      Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument

And many community organizations including: Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and Pacific Resources for Education & Learning (PREL)

For more information, please contact Dr. Takiora Ingram, cell: 808-781-6147 or email

tingram.raro@gmail.com or Lillian Coltin, email: lcoltin2016@gmail.com



Media Contact:

Deborah Ward
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Communications Specialist
(808) 587-0320