05/31/18 – Winners Announced in 2018 My Hawai’i Story Contest of Student Environmental Writing

Posted on May 31, 2018 in Forestry & Wildlife, News Releases

News Release


For Immediate News Release May 31, 2018


HONOLULU — The 25 winners of the 12th annual My Hawai‘i Story Contest focused on the environment were recently announced. The students will be presented with awards and prizes at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference on July 25, 2018, at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu.

The theme of this year’s contest was, “Ulu Ka Lala I Ke Kumu: From a Strong Foundation Grows an Abundant Future,” which means “the branch grows from the tree trunk.” “Kumu” means foundation, trunk, base, source, and teacher.  Without the knowledge of our ancestors we would not have the skills to build new tools and technologies to better manage our natural resources.

My Hawai‘i is an annual environmental writing contest for middle school students in Grades 6, 7, and 8, from across the state. The winners are:

From Kamehameha Schools Kapālama Middle School:

Kellen Apuna, Noah Asano,  Jaya DeSilva, Kapua Jay, Chase Kamikawa, Dustin Kealoha, Alana Kincaid,  Shaelyn Loo,  Mālie Lyman,  Mariah Mapa, Hālaʻi Napuʻelua, Kahala Neumann, Amaia Nihipali-Sabol, Payton Oliveria, Wainohia Peloso, Kassidy Pieper, Huki Plunket,  Moanahiwalani Walker, and Jaime Wond.

From Kamehameha Schools Maui:

Leila Baqui and Kaydence Lilio; and

Cameron Cornforth, Innovations Public Charter School

Kaimana Klein, Volcano School of Arts and Sciences

Maile Riddarskjold, Myron B Thompson Academy

Regan Riley, Innovations Public Charter School

The students will be presented with awards and prizes at the Hawai’i Conservation Conference on July 25, 2018, at the Hawai’i Convention Center in Honolulu, where they and their families will join us to celebrate their achievements. Mahalo to all the students, schools, and teachers who participated in this year’s contest!

The top 25 poems and short stories were selected from 281 submissions and will be published in an anthology that is distributed to schools and libraries statewide. 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, we have published the stories and poems on the environment of 300 middle school students. 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 twelve 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:

Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

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

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Pacific Writers’ Connection

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument


For more information, please contact Dr. Takiora Ingram, cell: 808-781-6147 or email [email protected] or Lillian Coltin, email: [email protected]

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Media Contact

Deborah Ward
Communications Specialist
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

[email protected]

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(808) 587-0396 (Communications Office)
(808) 587-0320 (Direct Line)