2016 - 2017 Pono Campaign Winners

The 10th Annual E Ola Pono Campaign was held during the first three quarters of school, from August 2016 to March 3rd, 2017. This annual statewide initiative encourages youth groups to promote peace, pono and respect at their schools and communities through student–led campaigns.

Six schools in three divisions will be receiving recognition and monetary awards for their winning student-led campaigns. First place winners will be awarded $1000 and second place will receive $500 for their campaign efforts. A USDOE Native Hawaiian Education grant funds the administration of the yearly Campaign. The monetary awards for winning campaigns are sponsored by the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, founded by Kim and Jack Johnson to support environmental, art and music education.

Elementary Division:

1st Place: Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Hawai'i Island  


At Na Wai Ola PCS – in their māla program students learn how to grow food, medicines and plants with aloha and respect. Shari Frias, the agricultural Science teacher and advisor for their pono campaign, observed that students who have been at their school for a few years have a personal connection and understanding of their māla (garden), the environment and themselves. The older students have developed a strong connection to place. She tells her students that, “every plant in our māla has a place, and kulelana just like you. If we care about ourselves the way we care for our plants we will be pono, and balanced.” 

2nd Place:  Ali'iOlani Elementary School, Oahu

Through the STAR Student school wide (PBIS) positive behavior intervention support program, the 5th grade students created and implemented a Kindness recognition pono campaign. Every student at Ali‘iolani wrote down a time when they were kind to someone else and the Wall of Kindness was created. Campaign advisor, Tim Hosoda, reflected, “In most programs the teachers do the recognizing, but with STAR Student, the students are the ones that get to do the recognizing. We noticed that students behave better because the know their peers are always watching them. Our entire campus was impacted….210 students and 40 adults.”

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Middle/Intermediate Division:

1st Place:  Ewa Makai Middle School, Oahu - Spreading Pono Thru Aloha

The (EMM) Ewa Makai Middle initiated a campaign to foster pono with aloha with an emphasis on morality and ethics, building respect by instilling righteousness in the hearts and minds of Middle School students. Through various activities, Cheer Off and No One Eats Alone day the students grew closer with each other. Vanessa Ching, Campaign advisor reflects, “The Campaign allowed us to reach out to all the students at EMM school. The students have embraced the true meaning of pono, which is respect for self and others, and doing what is right even when no one is around. We now realize that it is both an individual and team effort to take action and influence positive behaviors and respectful actions in our community. With the knowledge of pono, we will continue to foster respect and consideration with others, beyond the walls of EMM School.”


2nd Place:  Kailua Intermediate, Oahu - Preserving the Hamakua marsh and our community

The 7th and 8th grade students of Kailua Intermediate focused on how to mālama the Hamakua marsh and the native birds in this sanctuary. Watching and monitoring the birds, cleaning up trash dumped in the marsh and taking water samples showed students that their efforts were positively affecting the health of the marsh and its native population of birds. One student, reflected, “We want people to learn to stop littering and throwing trash into the stream.” And because of the Hamakua marsh project, “people are taking trash seriously. I see kids picking up trash now at school.” Campaign advisor Kimberly Tangaro, a science teacher at Kailua intermediate shares, “as participants we learned how we can make small yet significant changes to help promote the health of the marsh. Our school culture was powerfully and positively impacted by learning about this unique and special place we call home or our community.”


High School Division:

1st Place: Farrington High, Oahu -  Friends Program

The Friends Program at Farrington focused on the national #BETHE CHANGE & the Spread the Word to End the “R” word initiatives because they wanted their school, students, and community to understand that they will all RISE as one. Evelyn Utai, advisor of the Friends Program, states, “The students in our Friends Program have gone onto educate their other friends/classmates on what it means to be an individual who cares about everyone. We all promote that we are all #ONEGOV” at Farrington High. Our school has a student body of 2,600 and they were all impacted. It’s an amazing feeling to have my students walk through the halls and feel that they belong in the school.”


“To live in Pono, we need to understand that our differences are our blessings.” Evelyn Utai–Educational Assistant,Farrington High

1st Place(tie): Hāna High & Elementary School,Maui - Enviromental Sustainability

Hāna High 9th graders chose the topic of Environmental Sustainability because Hawaiians knew that when you take care of the land and its natural resources, the land will take care of the people. To sustain the future, the High school students focused on educating the younger generation by passing down the teachings of their kupuna. Pono Campaign advisor, Angela Chronis, the High School Social Studies teacher explains, “Both keiki and kupuna were excited to help take part in our campaign. After participating in the Pono Campaign, students have a greater understanding and appreciation of the many steps it takes in order to launch a campaign.”