Moanalua's Trailblazers

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A O KU T H E S T A R S O F M O A N A L U A H I G H S C H O O L | march 2 0 2 1 M oanalua ’ s T ra i l b la z ers

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MARCH 2021

I t ’ s show t i me After 20 years in the making the performing arts center makes its debut on March 12th.

A ray of sunshine hits the tinted glass windows only to be filtered out. Moanalua’s new auditorium is a ray of hope for the music department. After more than 20 years of planning and lobbying at the legislature, the highly anticipated Moanalua High School Performing Arts Center was finally declared open to the public March 12. State dignitaries including Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, who was a vice principal at Moanalua in 2012, and state legislators attended the dedication ceremony. Amano-Ige recalled that when she was


a vice principal at Moanalua, she had to speak to parents who were unable to attend a performance because of limited seating capacity "and that was 11 years ago." So this opening "celebrates a longtime dream." Given the trauma of the last year, she believes "music will play a healing role in our community." Senator Glenn Wakai (D, Moanalua) spoke of how amazing it was that the building was built on budget and on time. With a state of the art dance studio, music room, and chorus room, “[the performing arts center] is the crown jewel of the most fantastic music complex in the

state of Hawaii.” With 694 seats and at the cost of $35 million, the Performing Arts Center will be able to host the music, dance, and drama departments’ activities. Moanalua High School Principal Robin Martin looked back on Moanalua’s history and the bronze sculpture that used to reside by the cafeteria. Almost 14 years ago it was damaged in a robbery attempt. Later this year it will finally be returning home but will be relocated to the auditorium. Kahu Sherman Thompson did the Hawaiian blessing. Sample performances from music, chorus, dance, and drama high-

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Moanalua’s grand Performing Arts Center stands triumphantly at the front entrance of campus. Calista Ancog Photo

but I'm more excited for the students, the school, and the community who have the opportunity to experience a brand new state-of- the-art theater with all the bells and whistles,” drama teacher Mark Ikenaga said. "It is a literal dream come true not for me, but for everyone [who was] on the stage and everyone who has been involved" in the program and the project. The facility is "so great. It's so warm (in the way it

“ it is a literal dream come true

music teacher Elden seta

lighted the sophisticated audio and projection capability. Music teacher, Elden Seta and the selected orchestra members played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" because "we thought it was the most appropriate way to open this magnificent building." The stage itself is the centerpiece: it is the same size as the one at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall. The new building will also feature an orchestra pit, a scene shop, a dressing room and a costume room. It will even be possible to accommodate test-taking. “I'm excited about the lights and sound,

sounds,)" said Seta. “I want to thank Hawaiian Dredging, the construction company,” Martin said. “They were wonderful to work with.” Martin also credited the former administrators, who first envisioned and lobbied the state legislature for the building in the late 1990s. “The music directors at the middle school and here at the high school built a worldclass music program” that made the need for an adequate facility desirable, she said. As no public school can receive capital funds without help from the area’s legislators, Martin also cited former State Senator Norman Sakamoto (D, Moanalua), with whom she worked to lobby the legislature when she was a vice principal here, as a driving force. He was later supported by the legislators who followed him. Many public schools have facility needs, so building an auditorium was no small feat. But according to Wakai, “a performing arts center has been a priority for school administrators and the community

Kendelle Hung-Ino Photo (From left to right) Senator Glen Wakai, Senator Donna Mercado-Kim, Governor David Ige, and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige cut blue ribbon to the doors of the perfomance center


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for decades.” “It took determination by a team of lawmakers to gather the necessary funds to build the complex,” Wakai said. The marquee performances at the new venue will be the music department performances. The Symphony Orchestra (SO) and Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE) in particular have brought Moanalua High School national and international acclaim. The SO was first invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1998 and returned in 2005 and 2013. The SWE has performed in Japan and on the mainland. “It really was the commitment and dedication of the music department students, teachers, staff and the MoHS Band Boosters that spoke for the need for a performing arts center,” state representative Linda Ichiyama (D, Moanalua), said. After years of going off campus to perform, the performing arts departments will finally be able “to perform on our own campus, in our own home, if you will,” music and choir teacher Rhona Barbosa said. “When our marching band and color guard performs their marching band festival, The Menehune Classic, here on our campus, there is a deep sense of pride. I would assume that the same deep sense of pride would also be felt as we grace the stage in our own auditorium.” The issue of maintenance is always an issue, especially with such a large facility and a busy campus, Martin said. The

“the same deep

sense of pride would also be felt as we grace the stage choir teacher rhonda barbosa

school hired two Moanalua alumni, Jensen Ball and Landon Mauricio, who will serve as auditorium manager and technology director, respectively. When productions are not scheduled for the building, they will assist with technology needs at the school. Martin expressed gratitude that two graduates will be looking after the concrete and glass showpiece. She said it was important to “have people on campus who care about the building, who care about Moanalua High School” joining the staff. She wanted to make sure the building will be able to support school classes, events and performances, as well as accommodate community events, she

“ [we] finally


She graduated last year and was in Symphonic Band. “My peers and I were there when the construction first started so it would've been cool to see the finished product.” A few also recounted the memories that the music department gave them when there was no Performing Arts Center. “I’m honestly a little sad for the students in the future that [will] use [the] venue. I loved the car rides to and from concert venues, especially after a hard day[’s] work with my friends,” last year’s music department president Jericho Macabante said. “As a current music education major at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, I can only hope and dream that my future school will be fortunate enough to . . . play in it,” Class of 2019 graduate Siena Sonoda said. The years have seen many student musicians come and go, but one thing remains unchanged: the musicians all shared the same Menehune pride. “[That building] really is something," Saliz said.


NYA JOHNSON said. Senior Mari Shimabukuro, the Music Department president, said she’s “really looking forward to seeing how it’ll bring everyone together.” She thinks about the memories that are to be made. Moanalua students are also looking forward to using the facilities regularly. “[We] finally ha[ve] a place we can truly call our own to perform in,” junior and Symphonic Band student Nya John said. Not only are current students excited about the new auditorium, but Moanalua alumni look upon the new building with mixed emotions. Most share their enthusiasm but express their slight wistfulness. “I would be lying if I said I didn't feel as if I was missing out a bit,” Chisana Saliz said.

scan for full


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Student performances

Kendelle Hung-Ino Photo Mr. Elden Seta led orchestra students in playing “Ode to Joy” for their first performace at the center.

Kendelle Hung-Ino Photo Acting students performed a scene from the musical “Mean Girls”.

Calista Ancog Photo Senior Kennedy Taylor serenades the audience while creative dance students perform their dance number.

Calista Ancog Photo

Kendelle Hung-Ino Photo Keanu Morales, Kealohi Nihi, Cyarra Adversalo, & Kiana Lulu dance to Ku’u Leo Aloha by Josh Tatofi.

Kendelle Hung-Ino Photo Choir class sing Hawaii Ponoi and the national anthem before the other classes’ performances.


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Senior Tucker Pangan-Hosokawa

spent last fall break crossing his fingers and hoping to fly. He dropped his first indie single that just might take his small step into the big world of the music industry. In early September, he released To The Beach on all streaming platforms. The track has a calming melody and a catchy chorus that Pangan-Hosokawa hopes can “lift listeners’ moods.” In the midst of lockdown, To The Beach was a nostalgic tune that reminisces on spending evenings at the beach with those close to you. “I find inspiration from all around me…” he said. “I want my music to have a positive [impact].” Pangan-Hosokawa has had an everlasting passion for music and is even a part of “The 9o5” (previously known as “Bowl Cut”), a band consisting of four Moanalua seniors (other members are: Ryan Hopf, Julian Sullivan, and Aidan Piele). He has only ever done solo song covers, making the new single his first official work outside of the band. To The Beach is only the beginning.

Pangan-Hosokawa envisions his music career extending beyond his years in high school “[Even though] it’s risky, I want to pursue a career in music,” he said. He has more music on que and is working on developing his style.

[even though] it’s risky, i want to pursue a career in music tucker pangan-hosokawa

Pangan-Hosokawa is currently creating another song which he expects to release a new single in the upcoming months. You can stream To The Beach on Spotify by scanning the Spotify Code below.



Tucker Pangan-Hosokawa photo

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It all started as a favor for a friend.

Moanalua High School juniors Gabe Kaina and Roice Galapon used their love of computers and technology to establish a business where they build custom personal computers, specifically PCs. These PCs are in high demand today because of their exceptional efficiency when it comes to storage, internet access and all things digital. In the 21st century, “according to Glassdoor’s data, about 19 percent of the applications that this group filled out on the company’s website were for software engineer careers, which has more than 60,000 openings and a median salary of $98,500. Other highly skilled positions sought by Gen Z’ers include software developer and mechanical engineer.”

Galapon (left) and Kaina (right) with a build completed for a custom order. Photo courtesies Gabe Kaina

With many careers and jobs heavily relying on tech savvy operators and reliable computers, this makes the duo’s endeavors highly favorable in getting a headstart in the industry . Last fall, Gabe and Roice saw an opportunity to make a profit through their business account @rgb.hawaii (custom computer builds) on Instagram. From this account, the two take custom orders, such as usage (e.g. homework, gaming, video production etc.) “We spend to adjust to the person’s needs and wants to make them their perfect PC,” said Kaina. The duo then work to have the finished product to their customer within a month once all fees are handled. Their PC’s start at $700 and climb depending on specs, gadgets and other special requests customers may have, making their product highly affordable to anyone and everyone.

“w e s p en d t i me to

a djust to the p er son ’ s nee d s an d wants to make them the i r p erfect p c - Ga b e ka i na

Although the tech industry is never short of gamers looking for the newest and best pc’s or businesses in need of efficient internet access, rgb.computers will remain a hobby. In the future, Kaina plans to study mechanical engineering. Galapon’s future plans include studying computer science. Both aspire to play a part in the future of technology and become prominent figures in the community.


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she sells seashells senior koko butcher dives into the sea of online businesses ARIANA PATALINGHOG | STAFF WRITER


Shine! Cling and clang! O’ahu is home to stunning gems and pearls that are made into exquisite pieces of jewelry. Koko Butcher owns a jewelry business: Jewels by Koko that features dozens of unique hand-made pieces with materials she collects by hand. Butcher is a senior at Moanalua High School and she loves to go to the beach and dive for shells as a hobby which she later turned into her very own business. Her parents have owned Purple Yoga Hawaii, a yoga studio for more than eighteen years and encouraged her ambitions. Butcher started the business around June 2020 to learn how to manage finances and save for college doing what

she loved. She first started making jewelry as a hobby at twelve and took a few jewelry making classes. She occasionally made pieces for holidays for friends and family or sold them at Purple Yoga but never really continued beyond that. Now, with the large amount of free time she has in quarantine, she was able to pick up the hobby once again and dive for seashells and pearls/ buy materials to make jewelry pieces. In a few months, her business grew rapidly with the help of advertisements like giveaways, her Instagram followers, and her family and friends spreading the word. After the business took off, Butcher got a request from one of her fol-

Koko Butcher Photo

lowers for a custom jewelry order. “I got a custom order from one of my Instagram followers and I thought why not make it? After the first order, more of her followers started requesting custom pieces which gave her the opportunity to be more creative with her designs and perfect the craft. “I think this experience has taught me you can do whatever you set your mind to do. Don't doubt yourself and just do it. There will be lots

of bumps in the road but it's worth it. Don’t care about what other people think, just trust in the process,” Butcher said. She plans to continue Jewels by Koko in the future and use the money to go towards college or other investments. Butcher says the best part is “to see people wearing [her] jewelry”. She hopes to encourage others to do what they love whether it be a hobby or business.

The Sunrise Shell Necklace (left) and Angel Ring (right) are both available to shop on Butcher’s website;


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digital doodles


Kara Kanetake is a senior who not only

Kanetake’s artwork on products such as bags and phone cases are available for purchase on Redbubble. Photo Courtesy Kara Kanetake

enjoys creating art, she also sells her artwork online. In her sophomore year she started becoming interested in drawing digitally on her iPad. “I really liked the convenience of it, instead of drawing on paper or using physical mediums,” Kanetake said. Art is a way for Kanetake to express her feelings and creativity and share it with the public. Not only does she post her letterings, drawings and designs on social

media, she also creates her own GIF images which she shares in an app called Giphy where she has more than 109 million views. “I honestly didn’t know I had that many views, it’s a lot!” Kanetake said, “I just kinda post them for fun and [people] can use it.” Kanetake also sells her art products on Redbubble, an online marketplace for user-submitted artwork. She uploads her designs and Redbubble puts her work on products such as postcards and bags, handling all the processing and shipping for her. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak early last year, Kanetake has been spending more time drawing, creating and sharing. “I started doing a lot more lettering and drawings during the pandemic,” said Kanetake. “Then I made an Instagram [account] to share it. The whole idea of me making an Instagram to share stuff has just been for fun. I enjoy doing it and hopefully others enjoy seeing it too.” Kanetake intends to continue with her artwork on the side but doesn’t have any plans to turn her hobby into a career. “If I worked harder and put a lot more time into it, it could be a full time job but I’m still a student and that isn’t my first priority right now,” she said. Kanetake offered some advice for other students who may be interested in creating their own art. “Honestly, if you’re interested in art and art makes you happy, I encourage you to do it,” she said. “There is so much structure to creating art and with social media, there are so many ways to get yourself out there if you really want to.”


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In the humid summer air Nikkya Taliaferro

shouted through a mask “Black lives Matter” as she held a sign in hope for justice. She stood at the front leading other protesters to Oahu’s capitol building in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter is a movement created in “2013 by three Black organizers - Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi…[in response to the injustice killing of Black people across America]” stated by the official Black Lives Matter website. In response to the worldwide protest of George Flyod, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor’s death on June 6th , Moanlaua Senior, Nikkya Taliaferro, organized, “one of the biggest demonstrations yet [with] about 10,000 people on Oahu took part in,” according to a Hawaii News Now report. At a young age Taliaferro showed interest in being a beacon of hope. “She’s always spoken up for those who couldn’t speak up for themselves,” said Taliaferro’s mother, Ashley Taliaferro. During the summer of her senior year when police brutality was at the forefront of the media, Taliaferro wanted to do “something more than... being upset about it.” In June, Taliaferro joined Hawai’i for Black Lives, “a teen advocacy group working to fight against racial injustice, improve communities’ justice system, and show that Black lives matter in the Hawaiian Kingdom, ‘’ said Taliaferro. Taliaferro described how Hawai’i for Black Lives Photo courtesy Nikkya Taliaferro

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allows youth activists to “decide what [the] country is doing for [their] future.” Once she joined Hawai’i for Black Lives Taliaferro began her journey to organize the protest on June 6th. Taliaferro and other members were in charge of “securing the capitol and the beach, setting up legal observers and Marshall’s and distribution of water and food,” said Taliaferro.

for black lives “Hawai’i allows youth activists to “decide what [the] country is doing for [their] future.

nikkya taliaferro

Roughly ten thousand people attended the Black Lives Matter protest at the state captiol that Taliaferro was a part of orchestrating. Photo courtesy Nikkya Taliaferro

The Black Lives Matter protest in Waikiki was a phenomenal event where people came together in support for justice and equality. During the protest Taliaferro was amazed by “...all the people that believe change can happen in Hawaii even if that change is different from the mainland.” An attendee of the protest Class of 2020 alumna, Azana Queen, was “really surprised to see how well it was executed considering it was organized almost 100 percent by teenagers.” Since Hawaii’s police department does not have as many cases of police brutality as the mainland, the protest was in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement but also for change in Hawaii. Taliaferro described how “the purpose of the protest was to show support to the BLM movement,[and] demand systemic change in Hawaii. One of the things the protest brought to light was bill HB285 which sought to create transparency among our police department.” Through Hawai’i for Black Lives, Taliaferro was able to make a difference as a senior and have a lasting impact on Hawaii’s police department and communities. Taliaferro is an inspiration to Moanalua students and has shown they can make a change no matter their age, as long as they commit to it. Nikkya Taliaferro speaking to the crowd at the Black Lives Matter protest on June 6th. Photo courtesy Nikkya Taliaferro


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rewriting his story: A scientist, author, and teacher; Huff has taken his circumstances into his own hands to change his future.

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KENDELLE HUNG-INO ASSOCIATE EDITOR Adversity is nothing new for Moanalua science teacher Roy Huff. He’s hurdled over many hardships in his past: poverty, abuse, and a tight financial situation - just to name a few. Huff’s list of accomplishments make for a fascinating resume —valedictorian, research meteorologist at the University of Hawaii, bestselling author, father. But the most rewarding endeavour, he said, has been his career as a teacher. To say that Huff’s backstory is something out of a novel is an understatement. Raised in the south, his hometown was frequented by crime. “I had somebody just... pull out a gun and put [it] to my head and steal my Walkman [on Christmas],” he recalled, still astounded that he was only ten at the time. From a young age he knew that he could not spend the rest of his life there, and that it was pertinent to move. Huff worked to become valedictorian of Victory Christian Center School in North Carolina using this accomplishment as his exit ticket from poverty. “It was what I needed to do to accomplish my goals,” he explained. At age 17, he relocated to Hawaii. “In spite of it all... I kept a brave face and was very optimistic about the future,” he said. Huff is a strong advocate of using a growth mindset, and teaches it to his students. “I always believed...that people could have more of an influence on their lives than external events.” He credits this mindset as a critical factor for all his successes. His resume is full of remarkable accomplishments. After moving to Oahu, he received his real estate license but went back to college at the age of 30. All whilst working two full time jobs and being married with two kids. Over six years he earned five degrees (master’s in secondary teaching, master’s in geoscience, Bachelor of Science in geosciKendelle Hung-Ino Photo

ence, Bachelor’s in humanities, and Associate of Arts in liberal studies) and fulfilled his dream of working as a meteorologist. He worked for the University of Hawaii to develop the first ever “vog” (volcanic smog) model which observes and forecasts the smog from the Kīlauea volcano. It is currently used by TV weather reporters. On top of that, he’s a best-selling author and has published six books — both fiction and nonfiction. Everville is his four-part young adult fiction series that started in 2013. He has recently released two books in his new Seven Rules of Time Travel series. The e-book of the first in this series was released last summer. As a child he “put [himself] into sci-fi and fantasy stories” to escape reality, and it’s now his fuel for writing novels. Huff received his education degree simultaneously to that in meteorology. After the university’s research grant ended, he felt teaching was his next endeavour. Since 2013, he’s been a full-time teacher. Despite a long list of accomplishments, he feels he’s “...had more of an impact [on students] than any other way” as a teacher. “I think a lot of those struggles that I’ve had, have enabled me to help those that are close to me and give support to those who I can.”

could “people have more of

an influence on their lives than external events Roy HUff


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, e s o p r u p Re ReFInish, Repaint.

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Jason Vierra (left) and Yorgos Alexandrou (right) work together to varnish a desk.


IET Core students have been up to many things since

the year has started, like their building project. Brendan Rasheed, director of the IET Core, asked teachers for a wishlist of items that the students could build. Some teachers asked for bookshelves and standing laptop carts. But since funds for materials were low, they could not build it from scratch.“Instead of building from new, the students repurposed, refinished, and repainted items that were no longer in use,” said Rasheed.

Brendan Rasheed photos Chauncey Patrick spray painting a laptop cart for Mrs. Bernard.

Treylin Smith posing with Mrs. Bernard after giving her a laptop cart.

Students work on repainting a desk. Left to right: Tasi Seales, Jeremy Goulette, Jordan Smith

Brendan Rasheed photos IET students in their class workshop building their projects. (From left to right) Zu Hui Zhen Li, Kyle Tod, Paulo Tuimavave, Jayton Tanibe, & Matthew Tran.


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art work by senior kane ruiz

NA HOKU O MOANALUA Adviser Liane Voss

Editor in Chief Britney Maddox


staff Calista Ancog Emily Delacruz Yerin Hong Ariana Patalinghog Adrianne Salas Elizabeth Wellman

Our mission is to report news within Moanalua High School

and the surrounding community as impartially as possible, while maintaining transparency and accountability as journalists. Being members of the media, we exercise our first amendment rights to free speech and a free press. Our core principles follow the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, centering around seeking the truth, treating members of the school and community with respect, serving the school, and taking responbility for our actions. Moanalua High School Newspaper 2825 Ala Ilima Street Honolulu HI, 96818