Waiakea Elementary student among five honored by Mental Health America Hawaii

Mental Health America Hawaii recently honored PBS Hawaii, its Hiki No program and its teacher partners for their extraordinary efforts to elevate student voices throughout the state.

Together, PBS Hawaii and MHAH honored five Hiki No students for the courage to raise their voices, chronicle personal challenges and triumphs and open an unprecedented window into student life in Hawaii during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these students participated in Hiki No’s “Student Reflections,” a genre of storytelling in response to the pandemic. The awards, along with a $100 prize for each awardee, were presented May 14 during MHAH’s “Raising Voices to Save Lives” celebration.

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“We believe that sharing stories is an essential process for individual and collective healing,” said MHAH Executive Director Bryan Talisayan. “These five students, supported by caring teachers and mentors, had the courage to use this platform to share their intimate stories, creating an opportunity to connect, share experiences and offer uplifting messages of hope and inspiration.”

The following students were honored:

• Kai Tsugawa of Waiakea Elementary School.

• Navie Domingo of Farrington High School on Oahu.

• Ethan Morse of Farrington High School.

• Chloe Pacheco of Leilehua High School on Oahu.

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• Kaci Amaral of Maui Waena Intermediate School on Maui.

“We are so proud of Hiki No and the work of our staff, teachers, mentors and students,” said Ron Mizutani, PBS Hawaii’s president and CEO. “While we always knew that the rigors of Hiki No’s digital storytelling process held great learning value, we never fully imagined that this genre of personal reflection could contribute so powerfully to the social emotional well-being of our youth.