[intro music] HIKI NŌ, Hawai‘i's New Wave of Storytellers.
Aloha and welcome to this week’s episode of HIKI NŌ on PBS Hawai‘i.
I'm Ella Anderson, a senior at Kapa‘a High School on the Island of Kaua‘i.
I'm delighted to be your host and to share with you the work of Hawai‘i's New Wave of Storytellers.
In this episode, we'll meet student leaders who reach for their dreams, no matter what stands in their way.
We'll see the work of a young artist on Hawai‘i Island who found sudden online success.
We'll chat with the young founder of a therapy clinic created just for teens.
We'll meet a student who shares their personal journey of finding their gender identity.
In this episode, we'll also take a look at the issue of erosion in Hawai‘i, from the oceans coast, to deep in the valley, and we'll learn more about what students are doing about it.
And we'll go behind the scenes of a student fashion show and meet the aspiring fashionado who organized it.
Let's start the show with a story from Wai‘anae High School on O‘ahu that highlights how a teacher and his students are investigating beach erosion.
If you live on an island, you can feel the effects of climate change more.
Teacher Jameil Saez is very concerned.
And then you just keep marking until you get to the water.
He believes that what's happening today is a clear indication of what's to come.
In less than 20 years, half of Wai‘anae’s shores is gonna be flooded.
Wai‘anae High School is going to be flooded.
Mākaha Beach is not going to be a beach.
So this is always a, a challenge is, is trying to understand the entire picture.
When we were measuring the width from sand to water, the sand was displacing more to the road.
Like yeah, maybe in a couple of months we, we have three or four or five, up to 20 feet receding.
But then we can see that during the, um, summertime, those sand comes back.
When we see like, the, the sand that is eroding is not coming back then we're like, “Oh, crap.” And then like, calibrate.
I have to use fresh water first before you try to do like, other kind of water samples, yeah.
With tape measures, drones, and iPads from Oceanit, a coastal engineering company, Jameil and his students collect data at Mākaha beach to track the coastal erosion.
I mean, it's, it’s just like another simple day at the beach.
But in here, it's like more, more so of having a responsibility than just being there to cruise.
But what we haven't seen in the past is the community becoming their own scientists to help combat climate change.
And then we continue rolling down to go to the first, um, to sea level.
Monitoring the changes at the beach will help the students as they move into the next phase of their project: proposing a solution.
The more information we collect, the more informed we will be about what we need to know before we make the next decision when it comes to like, constructing and development.
This process that they are currently following raises Jameil’s hopes for the future.
After doing those kinds of exercises, makes sure a sense of urgency to the community.
So we can make better decisions that have long-term, lasting impacts for the community.
This is Denise Cabrera from Wai‘anae High School for HIKI NŌ, on PBS Hawai‘i.
[ocean wave] Now I'd like to take you to the Roosevelt High School campus on O‘ahu, the backdrop for a unique student led fashion show.
The event was captured in this next story produced by students at Roosevelt High School.
For most students, this just looks like a regular campus.
But for one particular Roosevelt High School senior, his school grounds seemed to have potential for much more.
What started as just a normal high school courtyard turned into a runway for a nighttime student fashion show created by the hands of Connor Anderson.
I did this to give students an opportunity to shine on the runway.
A lot of them had expressed interest in becoming models prior, but they felt like because of their body shape or, um, their, their looks, they were unable to achieve that dream and they wanted to make that dream come true for them.
I also wanted to show off how fashionable Roosevelt High School can be and in our unique space.
His experiences in the fashion industry inspired him.
Last year I went to Paris for Paris Fashion Week, and the final show that I went to was the Saint Laurent Women's Winter 2022 show, and that show took place almost directly underneath the Eiffel Tower at night.
And for that show, they lit up the Eiffel Tower in a bright white color and then they had, uh, sparkly lights and spotlights, a whole light show while the models were walking the runway.
I wanted to host this show in the courtyard because it's a really inspiring space, and I thought, “Eiffel Tower, bell tower.
Hey, we could make something work with that.” Um, the mural depicts, uh, the almost 100-year history of Roosevelt High School, and I wanted to have models walk past that as a way of, um, passing through time, so to speak.
The process of creating the show took Connor months to complete.
He had plenty of ideas, but Connor needed to seek the approval of administration.
Then he would also need to find where to get chairs, lights, and a sound system in order to make his vision come to life.
So, I, I looked around to see where we could get some really strong lights and I found Mrs. Teraoka was willing to help and use the lights from the digital media program.
But unfortunately, things did not go immediately as planned, as Connor was faced with an unexpected circumstance just hours before the show.
It started to rain extremely heavily in this courtyard, and the courtyard flooded.
That was very concerning because it's an outdoor show, and at about 3:55, the rain miraculously stopped.
When we planned setting up for the show, uh, we factored in about an hour, uh, just in case of any issues or difficulties, and it rained for exactly an hour.
So, although we were an hour behind schedule, we were just on time.
Despite the rain’s delay, the show still went on, and at 7pm the runway was put to work by 25 students modeling outfits they styled and put together.
This fashion show that I put on was really about the models.
It wasn't about the clothes or anything else.
And that was really special because that never happens.
So, I'm so glad that the models had a really good time and they really enjoyed themselves and they really had their opportunity to shine.
And that made me really happy.
This is Sydney Son from Roosevelt High School for HIKI NŌ, on PBS Hawai‘i.
[ocean wave] Connor isn't the only one with fashion dreams.
This story from our HIKI NŌ archives profiles two local fashion designers who went on to build successful brands in Hawai‘i.
Let's take a look back on how they helped others with their fashion dreams.
Step into The Collective at Ward Warehouse and you'll find a boutique filled with clothing made right here in Hawai‘i.
Behind the counter you'll likely see co-owners Allison Izu Song and Summer Shiigi hard at work on their next collections.
I do separates, so tops bottoms, dresses, jackets.
Kind of this mix of sophisticated contemporary modern feeling with island vibes.
But beyond the draped fabrics and sleek labels, the business plays a role crucial to Hawai‘i's evolving fashion scene.
We opened it up before to other brands to come in and use our space, um, and now we kind of transitioned into more of a mentoring and consulting space.
They offer advice to young fashion design students and emerging business owners forming a truly unique collective.
It’s a jumpsuit though.
Oh, is it?
The most important thing is to give them a, a real idea of what it takes to run a business here in Hawai‘i, and Allison and I are both small businesses.
And there's so much that we do that's hands on, so we can give them a little bit of everything along the way, from production, designing, marketing.
You could read a book on how to start a brand, but that doesn't really apply to a Hawai‘i person with a Hawai‘i brand.
Today, they're working with Danika Hazard, a fashion student and Collective intern.
A really cool idea that they have here helping other businesses and having this retail space mixed with their design space.
And I thought that, you know, doing an internship here could really help my own business, too, to learn the whole process from designers who are already starting a small business.
Hazard makes reversible handmade bikinis but says there's still so much to learn.
Just learning the whole design process is, you know, really useful for me because I've been teaching myself.
Oh, that’s a nice cap.
It's nice to be able to give feedback on not just how to do it, but, you know, what mistakes I made along the way and how I can kind of hopefully steer other people from not making those mistakes.
Managing their own businesses while mentoring others can be tricky, but Song and Shiigi say working with aspiring designers is a refreshing part of their day.
Seeing what their point of view is and how, um, they come into this industry with fresh eyes is really nice.
And while building a brand in Hawai‘i might not be easy, it can be done with the right mindset.
But I hope that they want to continue if their, if their passion is there.
Because there are days when it's really difficult and you want to give up.
And so, if you love it and you love what you're doing, you'll wake up every morning and you'll continue to do it.
This is Kayla Manz from Sacred Hearts Academy, for HIKI NŌ.
[ocean wave] In today's online world, fame and success can sometimes come overnight.
The following story from Konawaena High School students on Hawai‘i Island profiles an artist whose work became a hit on TikTok.
Keep going and enjoy it.
No amount of followers or likes is gonna make you happy, so just keep drawing.
[ocean wave] At first, I started posting my drawings on Instagram, but it didn't really work out.
After a couple months, I tried posting on TikTok, and then it kind of just picked up.
And now I'm here.
Jack Coupens has firmly established himself as a young artist on TikTok.
The sophomore at Konawaena High School on the Big Island of Hawai‘i has more than one and a half million followers.
My style is photorealistic colored pencil drawings.
My favorite art piece is probably my eye drawing, probably because it's the most realistic.
The amount of time I spend on each artwork is roughly 10 to 60 hours for one piece.
Jack's grandmother recognized his early attempts at drawing and gifted him a set of colored pencils.
I started when I was probably five.
I've tried painting, I'm not very good at painting, but obviously I enjoy a lot of different other art mediums.
His creative influences range from classic artists to peers who also showcase their work on social media.
I would say the main ones are CJ Hendry, Vex, ZHC, just the big names out there currently, and obviously the old masters.
They all have their different styles and stuff that I really admire.
Their work encourages him to push his own artistic boundaries.
He often spends hours refining his technique.
I did this marble jar drawing over the summer, and that took the whole summer, but it was fun.
I enjoyed every second.
In addition to drawing and making videos, Jack enjoys soccer and bodyboarding.
His love of the outdoors and Hawai‘i's natural beauty is reflected in his artwork.
Kind of just where I live, um, what's around me.
Um, I obviously, you got Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, all these places where artists are constantly putting their time and effort into, and you can just get inspiration from there.
While he's grateful for the exposure, Jack's vision goes beyond TikTok.
He sells his artwork on Etsy and hopes to eventually display and sell his work in art galleries.
With every step of his artistic journey, Jack focuses on the experience, not the numbers.
Keep going and enjoy it.
No amount of followers or likes is going to make you happy.
So just keep drawing.
This is Regine Medeiros from Konawaena High School for HIKI NŌ, on PBS Hawai‘i.
[ocean wave] This next student reflection is from Kaylee Brower, a senior at Waiākea High School on Hawai‘i Island.
Her story is about learning how to be comfortable again in social settings after years of distancing from others during the COVID pandemic.
It's so relatable.
Hello, I'm Kaylee Brower, a junior going to Waiākea High School on the Big Island of Hawai‘i.
I am filming this at my home.
For me, although very happy to be back in person, I'm having trouble doing things I couldn't do in quarantine, like socializing.
During quarantine, the only people I saw were my family and pets.
Everyone else was on Zoom or other long-distance forms of communication.
This caused me to have a hard time looking at people while talking and striking conversations in bigger groups.
Many people I know have had a similar experience when it comes to talking to people in person after the essentially one plus year break.
Now I feel like a lot of my peers are having a hard time changing back to how socializing once was.
Even now, many of my friends are out of practice doing normal things we used to do face to face.
Things like joining a conversation and other lines are not as clear as they used to be.
But as long as everyone respects each other and demonstrates kindness, I'm confident that we can all go back to socializing in person.
[ocean wave] Back in 2012, a student reporter profiled a young beekeeper in Mānoa who brought sweet dreams of honey to life.
Dakota Miller, a freshman at Punahou School, spends his time caring for over thirty thousand bees, making him the youngest beekeeper in Hawai‘i.
A few years ago in 2009, we met this guy at a farmers market.
Um, his name was Howard McGinnis, and he offered to take us out, um, beekeeping.
And we went out to his hives, and he showed us how to bee keep, and after a few times of going out with him to his hives, he then offered us a hive in our backyard and we said, “Sure, we'll take one,” and that's basically how we got started.
One of the benefits of beekeeping is, of course, the honey.
You can often find Dakota and his father, Keith Miller, working side by side harvesting their honey.
To collect the honey, first we have to take the super off the hive.
Then we take the frames out, take the cappings off the frames, which is the wax of the honey, and spin out all of the honey.
Then we drain it out into a bucket and filter it, and then we put it in bottles and put the frames back on the hive of bees to build more honey on.
Most of the time we just sell it to family and friends, but once a year we normally sell it at, um, the Honey Festival, which for the past few years has been at Senator Fong’s Plantation.
Dakota’s concern for Hawai‘i's dwindling bee population as a significant reason why he invests so much time and effort into caring for these bees.
I'm concerned about the bee population in Hawai‘i because probably about ninety percent of the wild beehives in Hawai‘i have been killed off by the Varroa Mite or the Small Hive Beetle, and, uh, that's not good for the environment or crops.
These pollinate almost two thirds of our food crops and a lot of other plants that make up the forest.
We're propagating bees by making more beehives and helping put more bees in our area because they can fly up to five miles in any direction from the hive, so it's a lot of bees to go around.
When the bees need more space in their hive, they swarm and move to a new location with a new queen.
Sometimes people don't want beehives in their house.
They call an exterminator because they think the bees are going to attack them.
So, what we do is we come in we save the bees and give them a new home and a safe place.
Beekeeping makes me feel happy, and I'm pretty proud of being the youngest beekeeper in Hawai‘i because it's an interesting thing and it's fun to bee keep and watch how your hives change and watching the bees grow.
Although maintaining the hives requires work and dedication, for Dakota, protecting Hawai‘i's bees and helping to preserve their place in our ecosystem is his sweet reward.
This is Alayna Kobayashi from Punahou School, for HIKI NŌ.
[ocean wave] This next story is from our very first HIKI NŌ contributor who is homeschooled.
Student producer and filmmaker Raphael Stark takes us to a unique therapy clinic in Honolulu.
It doesn't just feel safe, it is safe.
It's somewhere where you want to go.
[ocean wave] What do you get when you cross a cafe with a therapy clinic?
You get a nonprofit organization called Spill the Tea Cafe.
This teen therapy clinic is located in Honolulu and is co-founded by local teen Mat Strombach.
We give single therapy, group therapy, and it's just also a place to hang out because we have like, uh, video games.
We have board games and a foosball table, and like, snacks, drinks, boba.
Mattie had this idea actually in the fifth grade to have a Spill the Tea Café, which was a mental health clinic, you know, for people in general, but just, I think Mattie wanted to integrate like the cafe vibe with the clinical vibe because it's not something that we are used to.
And I think for Mattie and, and for myself as well, like, sometimes therapy can be scary, or it can feel very sterile.
A difficult time in Mat's life helped to reveal a new passion.
I went to therapy because my parents got divorced, and so that's when I learned about the five stages of grief, and then that's what got me interested in psychology.
Spill the Tea Café’s licensed therapists offer professional group and individual sessions by appointment on their website.
But walk-ins to talk, enjoy boba, or play games are always welcome as well.
It doesn't just feel safe, it is safe, it's somewhere where you want to go, right.
And so, if we have all these things, not only are they already going to have a positive connection with the therapy without feeling uncomfortable, they're also going to have the positive connection of being able to come here with their friends anytime.
A lot of people don't realize that suicide is the number one like, cause of death for kids in Hawai‘i ages 15 to 24.
And so, I really just felt like this was a really good time to take action and really, you know, bring Mattie's vision to life.
I really like the people here and the environment.
It's very calming, and everyone's really nice.
It's very accepting.
It just gives me hope to see Mattie and other kids thriving here, and it also gives me the motivation to continue this because nonprofit work is pretty difficult, but it's definitely worth it.
This is Raphael Stark, a homeschooled sophomore for HIKI NŌ, on PBS Hawai‘i.
[ocean wave] If you have TikTok, you'll probably find this next instructional video from Kalani High School useful to stretch out that neck and take a break from your screen.
It's from the HIKI NŌ archives in 2020.
Don't lift that dumbbell.
You're going to pull a muscle if you don't stretch first.
Doing stretches prepare your body by waking up the muscles and giving you a larger range in motion so you can move more easily and prevent more injuries.
The first stretch will warm up your arms and strengthen the triceps, shoulders, and biceps.
Then swing your arms forward and make a circle.
Make sure this circle is large.
The next stretch is the Frankenstein.
The Frankenstein stretches out your leg muscles and gives you more balance.
This stretch is called the lunging twist, which will stretch out your quads and hips and strengthen your glutes and abs.
Take a big step with your right leg with your left leg bent.
Now that you have stretched, you can do your routine.
Remember, the importance of stretching is to warm your body up.
When warmed up, your body will be loosened and can move more easily without injury.
This is Stacie Bae from Kalani High School, for HIKI NŌ.
Now let's visit Konawaena High School on Hawai‘i Island to meet student Ash Miller, who hopes their personal story provides a lesson in gender identity to a broad audience.
High school was hard for many of us, but for queer teens, it can be even more challenging.
My name is Ash Miller, and some of the things I enjoy include theater, writing, reading, costuming, as well as being a regular host on my school's morning broadcast.
I'm a trans queer senior from Konawaena High School on the Big Island of Hawai‘i.
I first came out as queer in seventh grade, but I hadn't realized I was trans until my freshman year.
Coming out isn't an easy process.
It's full of ups and downs, lots of questioning yourself and debating whether or not it's safe to come out, depending on those around you.
Something that people don't often realize is that gender and sexuality aren't binary, they're on a spectrum.
There's male and female, and then there's those who don't identify with either or fall somewhere in between.
That's kind of where I am.
I lean towards being a male, but in the end, I want to be my own version of male.
In the most simple terms, passing is when a trans person is seen as a gender they identify as, rather than the one that they were assigned at birth.
For me, something that gets in the way of this is my voice, as it is very feminine.
While there are options to be able to deepen voices, they are currently not available to me.
So again, that's something I need to live with, at least for the time being.
While I do want to appear as a man, I do enjoy stereotypically feminine activities, such as baking, sewing, and playing with makeup.
Another obstacle I have is a lack of queer teaching at school.
Currently, the school curriculum has one advisory lesson that covers the LGBTQ plus community, but it's such an important topic that one lesson doesn't cover much of the specifics.
Because of that, many people don't often understand or aren't comfortable with the LGBTQ+ community.
Ignorance often turns into hatred and bigotry, which makes the world even more unsafe for those who don't conform to the social norms of gender identity and expression.
In terms of overcoming these challenges, the main thing I can do right now is at least try to educate others on the importance of inclusivity.
The more we educate people, the more people feel comfortable being able to fully be themselves.
For example, I'm currently a co-president for the school's Gender and Sexuality Alliance that started this year.
The purpose of the GSA is to create a place where students of all identities can feel safe, regardless of who they are or how they appear.
I want people to know that we exist and it's not wrong that we exist, and we seek the same freedoms as everyone else.
This is Ash Miller from Konawaena High School for HIKI NŌ, on PBS Hawai‘i.
If you're interested in learning more about the topic, the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association provides resources for educators at hsta.org/transgender101.
That concludes our show.
Thank you for watching the work of Hawai‘i's New Wave of Storytellers.
Don't forget to subscribe to PBS Hawai‘i on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
You can find this HIKI NŌ episode and more at PBSHawaii.org.
Tune in next week for more proof that Hawai‘i students HIKI NŌ, can do.
[outro music] Just remember to go through every day with a good attitude and everything will be okay.
Know that you matter, and you are worth so much more than anything.
Things take time, and it's being human enjoying life that really matters.
The first time in a very, very long time, I'm actually feeling a bit hopeful.
By using our voices, we can work together to implement these solutions.
And with these steps, you can start to help the community around you.
For more HIKI NŌ student voices, go to PBSHawaii.org.