MHS captures Hiki No award

A group of Maui High School students received a best production award Tuesday at PBS Hawaii’s 2013 Hiki No Awards.

Their video “Back In Line” won the Nino J. Martin Excellence in Production Award, which was announced at 3 p.m. during a live-stream of the ceremony.

“We were watching it in our classrooms, and the kids cheered when we won,” said digital media teacher Clint Gima. “I was surprised . . . not to downplay our work or anything, but we were very honored to win because the stories from other schools were so good.”

Maui High senior Racieli Andrada and sophomore Giel Tolentino, along with recent graduates Emma Pastor and Cheska Liwag, produced the award-winning video and received $500 in B&H Photo credit for their school.

Maui High was one of 28 other schools with nominations, including seven from Maui that included Kamehameha Schools Maui middle school, Maui Waena Intermediate School, Lokelani Intermediate School, Baldwin High School and Seabury Hall middle and high school.

Maui High was the only Valley Isle school to win an award and one of only two Neighbor Island schools to claim one of the 10 categories. Each category had a high school and middle school winner.

Maui High’s three-minute video was judged for sound, composition, story-telling, editing, lighting and overall production, Andrada said. The video told the story of their classmate and junior saxophonist, Tally Nakamura.

“She was part of the marching band, but last year in April she was diagnosed with scoliosis,” Andrada said of Nakamura. “She continued marching band that year, and marching band at our school is rigorous; they practice 10 hours a week so it was really strenuous on her.

“But she persevered through it.”

Armed with Canon digital single-lens reflex cameras, tripods and wireless microphones, the students captured Nakamura’s life and struggles with her medical condition.

“It took a lot of courage from Tally to talk about her story,” Gima said.

The project was originally submitted for another competition and was “cleaned up” for the Hiki No Awards, he said.

“This video story, we got a prompt on Thursday and by, like, Wednesday or Tuesday we had to upload it online for the contest, so they only did it in like five or six days,” he said. “That week was pretty stressful, working late nights like that.”

Andrada narrated the piece and served primarily as a reporter. She remembered spending the first two days just figuring out the story.

“We weren’t really feeling it was our best work, so we were really shocked when we won (the production award) because we were going against some of the top schools like Waianae,” she said.

Gima, who has been with the program for more than 15 years and oversees about 100 students, was proud of his students’ award but was more encouraged by their understanding of quality videos.

“I think what the students learned the most is that they have to redo things over and over again,” he said. “After the first draft they think they’re done, but in order to get that high-standard they have to be willing to do more.

“It really isn’t about winning. It’s about doing a good job.”

PBS will present the students with a trophy on Wednesday.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at