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First districtwide school-attendance video contest in HI's history launched

posted Feb 24, 2014, 12:27 PM by Don Hasegawa   [ updated Feb 24, 2014, 12:27 PM ]
Windward District launches HI’s 1st area-wide school-attendance video contest: 15,686 students; celebs; cash

Nearly $10,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs in the state’s first districtwide attendance-campaign video contest – started by seven school social workers. The fun competition tackles the serious issue of chronic absences through student-made videos.

Finalized this week, the contest marks Phase Two of “Be Pono, Be in School” – Hawaii’s first and only districtwide attendance campaign – that kicked off last August. Four complexes – Castle, Kahuku, Kailua and Kalaheo – comprise 31 schools and 15,686 students in the Windward District’s 45 miles from Waimanalo to Sunset Beach.

The social workers planned, organized, secured islandwide sponsors and judges, and designed and reproduced contest materials with less than $500. They received help from families, friends and colleagues.

Sponsors include Matson Foundation, Hawaii Meth Project, HMSA, McDonald’s of Fort Street Mall, One Stop Windows & Doors, Bishop Museum, and Safeways and Times Supermarkets.

Some celebrity judges are Mahealani Richardson, public relations director at Shriners Hospital for Children; Crystal Lee, Miss Hawaii; Sgt. 1st Class Mary Ferguson, Army public affairs office; and KITV’s Paula Akana and Moanikeala Nabarro.

All district students from kindergarten through 12th grade may enter by creating half-minute videos conveying why it’s pono, or right and good, to attend school daily, arrive on time and stay there.

Among the prizes are $1,750 cash; a class day at co-sponsor Sunset Ranch on the North Shore; a custom surfboard; one round of golf; surf or dance lessons; a pizza party; entertainment passes; dining certificates; original photography; and adventures at co-sponsor Kualoa Ranch.

“We’re helping many students think seriously about absences and tardiness, and their impact on their education,” said Paula Wong, campaign manager and district educational specialist. “The contest can have great impact in helping them value their education. … Sometimes people take things for granted when they’re free. … Thank you to the sponsors and judges for supporting public education. Truly, we’re educating most of the school-age population in our state.”

Absences often start during the early years in school, and years of lost classroom time and lessons, may lead to a failure to graduate, growing research shows.

The entry deadline is March 10, 2014.

Don Hasegawa,
Feb 24, 2014, 12:27 PM
Don Hasegawa,
Feb 24, 2014, 12:27 PM