Saturday | October 01, 2016
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Pono campaign helps students tackle concerns

Four Hawaii public schools were selected as winners in the sixth annual Pono Campaign, a yearly initiative encouraging groups of youth in any school or program across the state to do projects and activities that promote living pono (doing the right thing) at their school and in their community.

Winning $1,000 for the first-place entry in the high school division is Honokaa High and Intermediate. After attending a conference and hearing motivational speaker Clay Roberts, students decided to form a Between the Lines Anti-Bullying Club. With the help of advisor Joy Kawachika, these students did sign waving, made posters and fliers, and became positive peer mentors to incoming freshmen.

They also presented lessons to middle school students.

Club member Ke Mele Sanchez commented, “Our club is small, but people have noticed what we do around campus. This was only our first year, but we have many other plans and even are in the process of visiting the middle schoolers. We cannot wait to make even bigger differences around our campus next year! We hope to reach all of the students on our campus and hope that we will someday have a bully-free campus.”

Two schools tied for first place in the middle level division, with $1,000 being awarded to both Iao Intermediate School on Maui and the Na Kahumoku program at Kealakehe Intermediate in Kona.

Sixth-grade girls at Iao Intermediate School took a stand against harassment by organizing a week long Anti-Bullying Campaign in April. The students brought in guest speakers from the Maui police Department and popular local singer Anuhea to share anti-bullying messages to the whole school. During their five day campaign, students showed support by wearing specific colored T-shirts each day that identified with an anti-bullying phrase such as “Don’t Fight ~ Wear White,” “Report things that are mean… Wear green.”

The hard work of these students has helped put plans into gear for next year to promote positive relationships at the school.

At Kealakehe Intermediate, students in Na Kahumoku, an after-school culture and place-based leadership program, performed multiple service projects to care for the local environment. These school leaders initiated activities to heighten cultural awareness in their community and school.

Students participated in beach cleanups, educated tourists about Kona’s fragile coral reefs, presented to their faculty, and did sign waving and highway cleanups. The Na Kahumoku youth leaders want to expand this program to include students from both Kealakehe High and Elementary schools.

Konawaena Middle School was awarded second place for the campaign entitled “I pono, We pono — How do you pono?” The school’s grades 6-8 student leadership class initiated this campaign by making posters that showed how pono could be demonstrated at school, at home, and in the community.

They translated these pono poster messages into a video that was then played during their school’s morning broadcast. According to student leaders, “The response from peers and teachers has been positive, and other students are now referring to good examples witnessed, as opposed to negative actions exhibited.”

For more information about the Pono Campaign and the life skills lessons, visit


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