Kainalu’s Video Clip Wins Aloha Contest

Kainalu Elementary teacher Irene Yamashita holds up a year's worth of free gasoline coupons, which she won as the grand prize in the Capturing Aloha Video Contest. Photo from Blake Parsons.

Veteran video production teacher Irene Yamashita, who has seen her Windward students go far with their own skills over the years, has won the means to “go far” herself.

The Kainalu Elementary School enrichment teacher won the grand prize in Aloha Petroleum’s first-ever “Capturing Aloha” video contest – a year’s supply of gasoline worth $2,600. The top 10 entries were determined by online voting, and judges then found her one-minute video to be the best out of a field of 27 entries that described the meaning of aloha.

Her video portrayed children in various countries passing a paper airplane to each other, and each time it unfolded to reveal the word for love and peace in different languages, leading up to Hawaii’s message of “Aloha Maluhia.” The piece ends with the message: “No matter where you are or what language you speak, you should always spread love and peace.”

Yamashita said she initially made the video with her students for a class project, then found it was a perfect fit for the contest.

A Kaneohe resident, Yamashita most recently saw her students win first place in the state for two History Day projects, which took them to the national competition in June. Kainalu also was the first elementary school team to debut its work in 2011 on PBS-Hawaii’s Hiki No, a statewide student-produced news network. It’s no surprise that she was selected in 1998 as a Hawaii Milken Educator award winner, while guiding young video crews at Kapunahala Elementary School.