Class of 2014 repeats ‘Aha Mele win as juniors

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Photo by Ka Leo o Nā Koa staff

The junior ladies of 2014 jump up to celebrate their 'Aha Mele win on April 26, 2013. The junior class won the Ka Maka o Ka Ihe award with their rendition of "Kawohikūkapulani."

ʻŌiwi TV

PUKALANI – For the second time in their high school careers, the junior class of 2014 claimed Ka Maka o Ka Ihe for their performance at this year’s ‘Aha Mele competition on April 26.

The class first won the award in the 2011 competition as freshmen.

“[The juniors] worked really, really hard, and all that hard work paid off,” junior conductor Madison Vaught said.

Vaught helped her class to victory by directing their song, “Kawohikūkapulani.”

Piano and choir teacher Mr. Dale Nitta helped along with his wife, middle school music and ‘Ike Hawai’i teacher Mrs. Leimamo Nitta, worked with the class with the individual class song.

The award was given to the class based on the highest combined score on their musical talent, judged by Grammy-nominated record producer Mr. Kenneth Makuakāne, pronunciation and enunciation of ‘ōlelo Hawaii, judged by Co-Kumu Hula of Nā Hanona Kulike o Pi’ilani Kumu Kapono’aikaulikeikeao Molitau, and the spirit of ‘Aha Mele, judged by 1992 Kamehameha Schools Kapālama graduate and kumu hula, Kumu Brandon ‘Iliahi Paredes.

“I’m pretty sure I jumped about ten feet up in the air when [Po’okula Lee Ann Delima] said ‘the junior class of 2014’,” junior class advisor Kalena Laepa’a said.

Freshmen performed “Puamana” under the direction of Mauliola Gonsalves.

Following that was the sophomore class with “Ka Nohona Pili Kai” under the direction of Kaiani Kiaha.

Juniors performed afterwards, and seniors were last with their rendition of the song “Nohea I Mu’olaulani” under the direction of ‘Iwalani Ka’a’a.

“Everyone did great,” junior Kamalei Batangan said. “During the rehearsals, I was kind of shocked because everyone sounded so good.”

The theme for the school year is “He ‘ohana kākou,” which means “We are family.” Every song had an underlying meaning speaking about a loved one or a family member.

Mr. Nitta and Kumu Kalei Aarona-Lorenzo chose the songs for each class. ‘Aha Mele is produced by all members of the high school Arts and Communications Academy team, but faculty and staff from the entire high school help with everything from rehearsals, to gym set-up, ticket distribution, ushering, student supervision, and the many other facets that go into a production that involves nearly 500 students.

New this year was a live stream by our Ka Leo o Nā Koa team, which was largely well received, though plagued by technical limitations. See the archived broadcast by clicking here.