Kihei Charter- Maui Waena students win top prizes in Imi Pono Challenge

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May 15, 2023

A Kihei Charter high school senior and a team of two Maui Waena Intermediate 7th-graders received $1,000 cash prizes for their anti-vaping public service announcement video, infographic and slogan in the third ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge awards ceremony Thursday evening.

Kayleigh Bass of Kihei Charter used the “Survive the Vape Apocalypse” theme in her PSA video parody of vaping and zombies and informational flyer. “If Vaping Was The Apocalypse, 2.14 Million High School Students Would Be Brain Eating Zombies,” her video and flyer said.

Adleina Doses and Kristine Tabada of Jennifer Suzuki’s award-winning Maui Waena media group mixed up a deadly mix of ramen, which included chemicals found in vaping. “If you wouldn’t eat this, why would you inhale this?” the video asks. “Don’t Blow Your Life Away” was their theme.

Bass and Doses/Tabada received their prizes at a ceremony at Maui Economic Opportunity in Wailuku that was hosted by contest sponsor, MEO Youth Services, in partnership with the Maui Chamber of Commerce and Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union. More than 50 youth, including a contingent from Hana; parents; and staff from MEO, the Chamber and Hawaii USA FCU attended the gathering.

Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee also was in attendance. The Challenge is her brainchild, with past themes of COVID-19 prevention in 2021 and reimagining Maui County in its inaugural year in 2020. ‘Imi Pono means “to search for the right way.”

High and middle schoolers were tasked with coming up with an anti-vaping campaign, including a slogan, a poster/brochure and a short public service announcement video. All information used in campaigns had to be cited and referenced.

There were two divisions, high and middle school, with cash prizes of $1,000 for first, $750 for second and $500 for third in each division. In addition, each entrant received a Zippy’s gift card.

The Challenge received a total of 13 entries but most consisted of teams of students. In fact, an entire class from Hana High entered the Challenge as one entry.

The other winners, their school, grade and project slogan follow:

  • High School/Second Place. Raine Blanchette, King Kekaulike High School, 9 th grade, “Nicotine Craving is Crazy Enslaving.”
  • High School/Third Place. La‘akea Wells, Maui High, 10th grade, “Chong is wrong.”
  • Middle School/Second Place. Dylan Fair, Shaleve Sabag and Jonny Matthews, Lahaina Intermediate, 7th grade, “Don’t Vape.”
  • Middle School/Third Place. Matilda Stone and Kamele Kamau, Kamehameha Maui Middle School, 8th grade, “Don’t Escape Through a Vape.”

MEO Youth Services coordinated the Challenge with the help of middle and high school teachers and administrators. Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union donated the cash prizes and the Chamber and its members acted as judges and will be offering internships to interested contestants.

Kayleigh Bass (middle) of Kihei Charter, who won the $1,000 first place prize in the high school division of the ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge, poses for a photo with (from left): Dane Ka‘ae, director of MEO Youth Services; Sylvia Ho, Senior Business Development Officer for Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union; Alice Lee, County Council Chair and originator of the Challenge; Pamela Tumpap, president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce; and Debbie Cabebe, CEO of Maui Economic Opportunity.

The Middle School winners in the ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge (middle from left) Kristine Tabada and Adleina Doses pose for a photo Thursday evening at Maui Economic Opportunity. Also in the photo (from left) are Sylvia Ho, Senior Business Development Officer for Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union; Alice Lee, County Council Chair; Pamela Tumpap, president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce; and Debbie Cabebe, CEO of Maui Economic Opportunity.

Kayleigh Bass’ anti-vaping flyer (shown) and video captured first place in the ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge.

Adleina Doses and Kristine Tabada of Maui Waena Intermediate created this flyer as part of the first place winning entry in the ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge.

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