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Ohta, Spray, Akagi-Okuma win Olelo Youth Xchange contest

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By Danielle Smith
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(Photo courtesy of Video Production teacher Jason Tamura) (L-R) Kyle Fujita (11), Erin Ohta (10), Scott Alquisa (11), Tiffany Spray (12), Jace Akagi-Okuma (10) and Video Production teacher Jason Tamura. While Tamura encouraged his students as they worked on their products, he made sure to allow them their own creative independence and to make and learn from their mistakes.

(Photo courtesy of Video Production teacher Jason Tamura) (L-R) Kyle Fujita (11), Erin Ohta (10), Scott Alquisa (11), Tiffany Spray (12), Jace Akagi-Okuma (10) and Video Production teacher Jason Tamura. While Tamura encouraged his students as they worked on their products, he made sure to allow them their own creative independence and to make and learn from their mistakes.

Students from the Video Production class entered the Olelo Youth Xchange contest and were asked to create a video focusing on a category of their choosing. After weeks of filming and editing, Sophomore Erin Ohta and her partner Senior Tiffany Spray took first place in the Traffic Safety category, while Sophomore Jace Akagi-Okuma placed first in the “Meth: Not Even Once” category.

“Making these videos (helped) me gain more experience. I wanna do something along the lines of video production and entering (a) contest like this really helps to build my experience and knowledge on how to make my videos better. It’s not only about the prize money in these competitions but mostly about showing your skill and seeing what you need to work on in the future,” said Junior Scott Alquisa, who placed as a finalist with his partner Junior Kyle Fujita in the Test-Taking category.

With 15 different topics to choose from, students were asked to create a short video based on their category, which was then submitted into the contest. Finalists attended a banquet at the Sheraton hotel on May 4, where they announced the winners of each category. “It was really cool because we got to see other people’s videos and I was actually able to learn a lot by watching theirs because I could see what we could have done better in comparison to everyone else’s,” said Fujita.

In the weeks leading up to their video submission, students had to first overcome obstacles of their own.  “They all (had) their own things going on and they’ve had to balance this as well as any other commitment they had. But I think they did pretty well,” said Video Production teacher Jason Tamura. “They all chose their friends (as partners) so they had similar schedules and were able to work it out from there.”

Their hard work didn’t go unnoticed, as many of the students placed as one of the top three finalists in the categories that they entered. “This competition is statewide, so you can imagine how many entries they get. Just to be considered as one of the top three high school finalists is really amazing. I’ve been working towards this for four years and I finally made it, so it’s been a real boost of confidence,” Alquisa said.

Despite the fact this was a compeition, this was also a learning oppportunity. Students not only gained more experience, they learned new facts as well. “They had to research their topic, so I think this really helped them get a better understanding about the issues currently going on in Hawaii. They get an idea of the problems going on outside of their own little world,” said Tamura.

Students used this contest as encouragement to venture out of their comfort zones and experience new things. “It was a new experience. (My partner and I) didn’t really know what kind of route we were going to take so a lot of it was just thinking it up on our feet. I think we did really good considering though,” Fujita said. Alquisa added, “I did an animation for the first time because I didn’t want to stick to the same, ‘Take a camera out and shoot a bunch of scenes,’ kind of thing. It took a lot of patience and it was frustrating but it all paid off.”

While not every video won first in each category, teachers and students alike were proud of the videos that they were able to create. “They all put in a really good effort and did an amazing job,” said Tamura. Fujita added, “I was also able to get a visual of what the competition is like out there. Now I know what the skill level is and how I can improve on my own skills.”

Students hope to take what they learned from this experience and to use it during class and in future contests.

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Ohta, Spray, Akagi-Okuma win Olelo Youth Xchange contest