Hawaii STEM competition Maui County winners announced

Nalea Brito of King Kekaulike High School and Robert Brito of Kalama Intermediate School enjoy a chuckle while finding the perfect words to their song “Hokule‘a.” -- STEMworks/MEDB photo

The 10th annual Hawaii STEM Conference was held May 1 and 2 at the Hawaii Convention Center on Oahu. It was presented by STEMworks, a statewide initiative of Maui Economic Development Board Inc.

More than 1,000 educators and students from more than 100 schools and 215 industry partner organizations across the state and the Mainland attended the annual conference, which is the state’s largest STEM event dedicated to engaging a new generation of STEM innovators and leaders in Hawaii.

New to the event this year were three fast-paced HACKATHONs where students were empowered to create a voyaging song for the voyaging canoe Hokule’a, develop solutions to protect endangered corals from the planet’s warming oceans, or design an app to mobilize citizen scientists to bring attention to endangered/threatened animals in Hawaii.

Students also participated in STEM competitions. This year’s Hawaii STEM Conference winners from Maui County are:

• ArcGIS Online US Competition Finalists –Justin Kawamura and Emery Jade Meyer-Wallett of King Kekaulike High School.

• Photography Winner — Cameron Viernes of Baldwin High School.

• STEMworks Mascot Winner — Marie Andam of Maui Waena Intermediate School.

• Superhero CAD Winner — Joseph Wojcieski, Edrei Bugtong, Marly Domingo of Maui Waena.

• T-Shirt Design Winner — Reece Kikuchi of Baldwin.

• On-Site Product Pitch Design Winner — Alex Macaraeg, Matthew Poe, Jadynne Zane, Zoren Atijera of Maui High School.

• On-Site Video Winner — Jaxon Chester, Antonio Mason, Isaac Mataele, Taiger Ogasawara of King Kekaulike.

• On-Site Coral Hack Winner — Cameron Loewen, Kalila Phillips, Victoria Teoh, Branden Wong of Baldwin.

• On-Site Voyaging Song Challenge Winners — Preston Ito and Keireana Higaki-Ragudo; Celina Brito, Nalea Brito of King Kekaulike and Robert Brito of Kalama Intermediate School; Chase Cabacungan, Shairene Mei Bayle, Janalise Woodson of Maui Waena; Laulea Kekahuna, Waileia Poepoe Mollena, Ikaia Purdy, Loane Sibayan of O Hina I Ka Malama Kula Kiekie Molokai High School.

“Rather than picking a single team to win this year’s challenge, the judges declared all teams participating in this song competition a winner,” said Mark Loughridge, one of the Voyaging Song Challenge organizers.

“It was really cool to have Hawaii’s legends encouraging us,” said Keireana Higaki-Ragudo, a senior at King Kekaulike. “Henry Kapono and Paula Fuga gave us great advice about our song and Nainoa Thompson inspired us with his words. This entire experience really helped me grow as an artist. As one of this year’s song challenge winners, we’re thrilled that we have an opportunity for our song to be carried by the Hokule’a and shared around the world to bring people together. To be able to say, this is our people’s song and we are all one ‘ohana — that’s really amazing.”