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LHS seniors honored for shooting compelling video

By Staff | Nov 27, 2014

From left, Nancy Young, Sophia Fredy, Kainoa Reponte and Susan K. Bendon are pictured at the award ceremony.

LAHAINA – Lahainaluna High School seniors Sophia Fredy and Kainoa Reponte recently earned distinguished honors as 2014 Hiki No winners.

In a ceremony held on campus on Friday, Nov. 14, Fredy and Reponte received a certificate of achievement and trophy for finishing in first place in the state in the PBS-Hiki No competition in the “Best Personal Profile-High School” category for their film about fellow student Kimberly Yap, a classmate torn between her traditional Micronesian upbringing and Western culture.

PBS Hawaii is the state’s sole member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Its president and CEO is Leslie Wilcox.

Hiki No is the first and only weekly student news show in the nation with a statewide network of over 80 schools. The program was conceived in 2009. Hiki No airs weekly on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. Student teams work with teachers and mentors to conceive, write, shoot and edit news and feature stories.

Hiki No means “can do” in Hawaiian, and the weekly production gives voice to Hawaii’s youth.

Nancy Young teaches the Digital Media Class at LHS. She advised the Lahaina News that the process from the camera to the PBS judges’ chambers can be long and arduous.

“Classes vary for Hiki No, and some schools do Hiki No as an after school club, but I had my Digital Media class participate,” she said.

“Students get into groups of three and come up with a five- or six-word idea,” Young explained, “then they make five or so statements about the idea – who, when, what, where sorts of statements. Those become the questions they ask the people they interview.”

“We found that an interview needs to run really long – 35 to 40 minutes of video – in order to get the person to relax, open up and get personal; so very little of the interview is used in a 2:45-minute profile,” Young observed.

Young is committed to the youth news competition and PBS.

“It’s a huge recognition of their work. Not just the award, but every time we get another piece finished and shown on PBS, it’s whew, we did it; and then the fun of seeing it on TV. It is a big reward to see your work out in the real world – to have it broadcast far and wide,” she commented.

“For me,” Young continued, “working with PBS for six seasons has been a constant learning experience… The great thing about Hawaii PBS is how supportive and nurturing they are to all of us teachers and to our students, from Leslie Wilcox right on down the chain of command.”

According to Susan K. Bendon, Hiki No is a success story and a role model for the rest of the nation.

Bendon is the executive director of the Bendon Family Foundation and Maui representative on the PBS Board. As a delegate for PBS, Bendon was asked to present the Maui awards.

“There is a lot of competition all through the islands for Hiki No,” Bendon commented.

Hundreds of submissions in each category were critiqued, and a winner was selected out of the top five in each category.

Her review of the Fredy and Reponte profile was stellar: “I want to tell you when you see this, you will see how professional it is. Notice how they tell the story in a number of ways – visually, emotionally – and how they use various camera angles. And notice also how long something like this might take to create for something that is so short.”

Fredy learned from the experience: “It’s incredible how much PBS and Hiki No have helped me. Now, I am much more aware of the details when making a video. I have learned the crucial importance of being aware of every aspect when filming, creating a flowing and compelling story line, and following deadlines. Also, the feedback we receive from PBS is excellent, being constructive while supportive.”

Fredy, the daughter Charles and ShaRon Fredy, is a member of the LHS Class of 2015.

“I am planning to go to college. In college I plan to major in film or go to a film school specifically,” she told the Lahaina News.

She has lofty goals: “I aspire to be passionate about my career. I hope to be lucky enough to fall in love with my job and have it open up a multitude of opportunities. I also aspire to reach a level of seniority that allows me to embrace my creative oddities rather than have them shot down, because they are ‘wrong’ or ‘unusual.’ “

Reponte is graduating with the Class of 2015 a year early.

“I will be applying to the University of Southern California, New York University and the University of California, Irvine. I hope to further my career in filmmaking, whether that be behind or in front of the camera,” he said.

“At USC, I will be applying to the School of Cinematic Arts for Film and Television Production. At NYU, I will be applying to the Tisch School of the Arts for Acting,” the lifelong Lahaina boy, son of Shawny Labrador and Michael Reponte, noted.

He considered the Hiki No encounter valuable, and he is confident: “This experience was a reaffirmation for my interest in film. Before, I wasn’t sure if I could excel in that specific career field; but I, now, understand my abilities and am excited for my future in the film industry,” the 16-year-old exclaimed.

Both Fredy and Reponte appreciate their mentor, Ms. Young.

“I have learned a lot from Ms. Young. She’s taught me about the importance of deadlines, how shots should be set up, how to make videos aesthetically pleasing; and, of course, how to tell a story through film,” the younger senior said.

Fredy was more specific: “I first met Ms. Young when I entered the Arts and Communications Pathway Core class that she taught. I was a freshman and have taken one of her classes every year since.

“In our early relationship,” Fredy continued, “I expressed to her that I was very interested in film. Lucky for me, Ms. Young allowed me to feed my curiosity for video making by encouraging me to work on projects. Through the years, Ms. Young has supported me by giving me feedback and motivation. She has allowed me to feel confident with my judgment and artistic voice. Her program has inspired me to always work toward my goals in filmmaking.”

PBS CEO and President Wilcox hailed Hiki No.

“The word we often hear from students and teachers is life-changing. Students are acquiring the skills they need to be engaged citizens and productive members of the evolving workforce,” she said.

The award-winning film about Kimberly Yap was featured at the Hiki No Film festival in September at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. It can be seen on the web at www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjFCy06X8Ac.