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SHS students recognized for video on domestic violence

By Staff | Jun 4, 2009

LAHAINA — Two eighth-graders from Sacred Hearts School were honored by ‘Olelo Community Television and the Rotary Peacemaker Committee for their video on domestic violence.  

Students Rachael Lallo and Sydney Fousek were awarded a Sony video camera at a special meeting of the Rotary Club of Honolulu — sponsor of the Peacemakers Video Contest for the past three years — at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on May 19.  

This category is one of many ‘Olelo Community Television solicits from students of all ages. This year, ‘Olelo received 560 videos in 16 different categories from elementary, intermediate and high school students throughout Hawaii. The Peacemaker Category received 50 of the 560 submissions.

Lahaina resident Bonnie Nelson, a Rotarian since the charter of the Lahaina Sunrise Club in 2001, learned about the contest in late February — only three weeks before the deadline of March 5 — through club President Karen Kondo.

Nelson explained, “I brought the contest to the attention of Sacred Hearts School, never thinking there would be enough time to prepare an entry. On April 4th, I was invited to fly to Oahu to assist in judging 18 videos that had been narrowed down from the 50 submitted in the Peace category.

“I didn’t know until the judging was over that the one video that had affected me so thoroughly was from our own Sacred Hearts students.”

Rachael and Sydney submitted the four-minute video on domestic violence using the stop action technique to showcase this sensitive subject.  

They cut pictures from magazines to create a story board tale of the sadness that violence leaves in its wake.  

“Domestic violence is a tough issue to tackle in any medium without the use of graphic images. These young ladies managed to underscore the desperation of a young woman trapped inside her own hell,” said Nelson.  

After the short story board, the video focuses on domestic violence facts — scrolling for nearly a minute — and ends with sensitive images of women crying in silence.  

Rachael explained, “Sydney and I chose domestic violence because it is the most frequent and underreported crime in the U.S., as said in the video, and we really need to spread the awareness that this is going on in people’s households. I think victims of domestic violence are afraid to tell people what is happening to them and possibly other people.”

The students hope the video increases awareness of the problem and inspires people to speak out on it.

They thought using actors would look cheesy and fake. With pictures and stop motion, the students could manipulate the images any way they wanted.

“I think it was an excellent new way to get the point across,” Rachael said. (Sydney was on vacation on the Mainland at press time.)

Rachael cut out pictures from old magazines to form the subjects: “… for example, I would cut out a head and then get a body that looked sad, or looked like the person was running, then I got eyes that were looking down — sometimes we had to draw some items — or looked liked the person was crying, then I put them all together and made one person, and then took a picture, then moved it a little, took a picture, then moved it a little… and in the end it would look like a person running or walking,” she explained. “That took a long time!”

When the pictures were done, she uploaded them on her computer and created the project on iMovie. The whole project took about two weeks, working night and day.

On May 13 at an assembly at the school, both girls were honored with certificates from the State of Hawaii presented by Sen. Roz Baker and Rotary President Kondo.  

Miss Lokelani and Miss Hawaii hopeful Erika Daniels was on hand as the video was shown to students, teachers and guests.

After viewing the video, Daniels was unable to deliver her prepared speech, as she was so deeply affected. Her ensuing comments were deeply heartfelt, and when the presentation was over, she was flooded by a sea of students wanting her autograph.

“This year, the Rotary Club of Honolulu Peacemaker Committee went statewide and now is endorsed by Rotary District 5000, which includes all Rotary Clubs in Hawaii. I am proud to be the first committee member on the island of Maui. During the next year, we will be not only building our committee, but exposing all nine Rotary Clubs on Maui to the program and enlisting participation from all the schools,” Nelson said. “Congratulations Rachael and Sydney!”  

Rachael said the award ceremony was amazing.

“There were so many people! Sydney and I really enjoyed ourselves,” she said.

“We were treated like rock stars — my mom has been calling me a rock star ever since! We are so thankful that they chose our video to be a winner! Thank you all who made this amazing experience happen!”