Home Youth service 3 students win $ 1,000 top prizes in the ‘Imi Pono Challenge

3 students win $ 1,000 top prizes in the ‘Imi Pono Challenge


Mikaela Tirona of Baldwin High, Angie Pustelnik of St. Anthony School and Shalev Sabag of Lahaina Intermediate each won the top prize of $ 1,000 in the 2021 ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge media competition.

A virtual ceremony was held on Thursday, September 30 to announce the winners of the youth media competition, which focused on the theme “The Four W’s – Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and vaccination around the world “.

This is a screenshot of Mikaela Tirona’s debut video at the 2021 ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge media competition. Tirona is a junior at Baldwin High. PC: Maui’s economic opportunity.

Twenty-one high school and middle school finalists submitted entries for public awareness campaigns in art, photography and video.

Prizes were presented to the top three winners in the High School, Middle School Art & Photography and Middle School Art & Videography categories. The first place winners in each category received $ 1,000; second place, $ 500; and third place, $ 250. All other finalists received $ 20 gift cards from Zippy’s.

The cash prizes were sponsored by Hawai’i USA Federal Credit Union.


The judges were Mary Albitz of Island Art Party, Christopher McGee of The Avocado Group, Sylvia Ho of Hawaiʻi USA Federal Credit Union, Rick Nava of MSI Maui and Sherri Reeve of Sherri Reeve Gallary and Gifts.

  • In the High School category, Tirona, a junior, created a public service video highlighting “The Four W’s” to capture the top spot. Jasmyne Imamoto, senior at Lahainaluna High, took second place with a photo and Maria King, senior at St. Anthony School, took third place with a photo.
  • Pustelnik, a 7e grader, won the Middle School Art & Photography category with a poster showing the Earth wearing a mask and sprayed with water and injecting into the planet and social distancing from people. Mahie Miyagawa, 8 years olde grader at Kamehameha Schools Maui, took second place with an art entry, and Lincoln Livermore, 7e grader at Lahaina Middle School, finished third with an entry in art.
  • Sabag, a 7e grader, was voted the best participant in the Art and Videography category for a video featuring a little rubber duck getting vaccinated. Kalena Mariana and Allie Kennedy, Kamehameha Maui Schools 8e graders, finished in second place and Myla Tuitele and Braelyn Hong, Kamehameha Schools Maui 8egraders, took third place.
Angie Pustelnik, a 7th grader at St. Anthony’s School, created this poster, which featured “The Four W’s – Wear your mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and immunization around the world.” Pustelnik finished first in the Middle School Art & Photography category of the 2021 ‘Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge media competition. PC: Maui’s economic opportunity.

“I am proud of our students who have once again demonstrated through the ‘Imi Pono Challenge that they are the problem solving and decision-making leaders of tomorrow,” said Maui County President Alice Lee, the creator of the first “Imi Pono” contest last year. “Every student who took part in this public awareness campaign is a winner.

“Thank you for your hard work and your commitment to help us fight this deadly virus,” she said.

“Congratulations to all of the students who participated in the ‘Imi Pono Challenge,’ said Debbie Cabebe, CEO of Maui Economic Opportunity, an organizer of this year’s competition. “So much creativity and imagination went into all of the nominations, and all of them were done with such professionalism. Government agencies and TV stations should consider using their work to advance the important cause of fighting the spread of COVID-19. “


“I am always impressed by the talents shown by our young people in the ‘Imi Pono competition. This year, students have used their artistic and communication skills to share important messages about health and safety during the pandemic, ”said Pamela Tumpap, president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with MEO for judgments and rewards. “The judges were impressed with the skill and professionalism found in each entry.”

The awards ceremony, which included presentations from the 21 finalists, can be found on the MOE and Maui Chamber Facebook pages.

The second annual challenge ‘Imi Pono was sponsored by Maui County Council and Maui County Economic Development Office and produced by MEO’s Youth Services and Business Development Center and the Chamber of Commerce of Maui. ‘Imi Pono means “to seek the right path”.

Shalev Sabag, a 7th grade student at Lahaina Intermediate, won the first prize of $ 1,000 in the College Art & Videography category in the Imi Pono: The Greatest Challenge 2021 media competition. PC: Maui’s Economic Opportunity.

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