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Video Contest Entries Fight Skipping School

Skipping a day of school seems harmless. But chronic absenteeism, even in elementary school, has been linked to increased high school dropout rates. That’s why the Windward School District began the “Be Pono – Be in School” campaign in August 2013, culminating in a video contest with winners from five area schools.

Sunset Beach Elementary, at the far end of Windward’s administrative district and in the Kahuku Complex, earned a second-place prize of $500 cash for its video One School’s Opinion.

The contest was open to any district student, group or school in grades K-12 to make a 30-second video advocating the importance of regular school attendance. Sunset’s victory was in the School category, awarded to videos that were produced by the entire student body. The other category winners were Maunawili Elementary for Be Pono, and Enchanted Lake Elementary for Let’s be Pono.

“We’re thrilled at the positive response by our creative students,” said district educational specialist Paula Wong. “The social workers are planning new ways to continue the attendance campaign next school year.”

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

In the Group division, Aikahi Elementary took the top prize with Pono and Zono, the tale of two boys with very different attitudes on attendance. Kalaheo High swept the Individual category.

More than 1,500 students worked on the 60 contest entries. Local businesses donated prizes, including $10,000 cash, pizza parties, field trips and more.

To see the winners, visit hawaiipublicschools.org/visionforsuccess/successstories/awards/pages/bepono.aspx.

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