Inspired in Hawai‘i: Six MHS Students Place in T.C. Ching Contest

Danean Wurlitzer, Reporter

     On Nov. 8, students from kindergarten through twelfth grade submitted their final products for the tenth annual Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation “Inspired in Hawaiʻi” Contest. The students were asked to make a video, poster, digital media poster or write an essay that discusses an issue they thought was important to Hawaiʻi. From MHS, Seniors Rowan Foster, Chance Ringor, Meagan Tamashiro, Sophomore Noele Okinaka and Freshmen Haku Arnold and Angelina Anglada all placed in the top three for their age group and division.

      “This contest is important for me because it was one of the only contests where I felt motivated to create,” said Ringor, who won first place for the video division. “I also feel that this contest is important for students in general because it provides an outlet for creativity, and it allows students to present innovative solutions for problems in Hawaiʻi.”

      Students chose to focus their pieces on issues they considered essential to fix in Hawaiʻi. Ringor, Tamashiro, Okinaka and Anglada all focused on issues surrounding the environment that need to be resolved, while Arnold discussed the current TMT protests on Mauna Kea and Foster the human trafficking issue in Hawaiʻi.

      “More and more we hear tales of girls taken from Mililani and the mall and any place we’d normally feel safe,” said Foster, who placed second in the poster division. “For that reason, I thought that shining a light on this issue would be extremely important.

      Production for the contest began during quarter two of the school year for MHS students. However, the process was not easy in terms of perfecting their final submissions. 

      “It was hard work for sure. We had to come up with a unique idea, write a prompt, storyboard, film and edit the video within a month span or so,” said Tamashiro. “There was also a period after completing our first draft where we still continued fixing our videos in order to be competition ready.”

      Though most of the students were assigned to participate in the contest by their teachers, they were allowed freedom to express their ideas however they pleased. For Ringor, the process of filming served as his form of a creative outlet. 

      “One thing I enjoyed about the experience was filming on a whim,” said Ringor. “I knew that I wanted to make a video that simulated a gourmet cooking video, replacing fresh ingredients with marine debris, but I didn’t know how I was going to portray that until I started filming.”

     The students received their awards on Feb. 19 at Kahala Mall. Ringor won the first place cash prize of $200, Arnold, Foster and Okinaka won second place prizes of $150 each, and Anglada and Tamashiro both won $100 for placing third. 

      “I was very surprised when I won my division,” said Ringor. “What warms my heart the most, however, were my parents’ reactions. When I got back to them after receiving my award, they were tearing up. It made me want to cry too.”

     However, the winning students were not the only ones who were awarded from the contest, as the teachers of the winners also received a prize of $100 for every student that placed. For the students, this meant that the reward for winning extended far beyond their own cash prizes. 

     “It feels nice knowing that my teacher gets something out of the competition as well,” said Tamashiro. “The most rewarding thing was the ability for my work to be shared and for me to show what I have been taught over the past three years.”

     The contest’s objectives are to both support students and their schools and give students an opportunity to express their creativity in an important and meaningful way. Overall, the students found that though it was a lot of hard work, the experience was rewarding. 

     “I feel like more students should participate because we all have unique ways in presenting our ideas. One of those ideas could be award-winning, but we will never know until we try,” said Ringor.

     Winning submissions can be viewed on the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation website. For more information, visit