Ka Leo o Na Koa wins top state award


The Ka Leo o Na Koa journalism staff and the Hawai’i Publishers Association perpetual plaque. Their newspaper was named “best newspaper in the state” at the 27th Annual HPA High School Journalism Awards April 27.

By Ka`io Tubera, news editor

HONOLULU–The award for best newspaper in the state was awarded to Ka Leo o Na Koa at the Hawai’i Publishers Association High School Journalism Awards held April 27 at the Pagoda Hotel.

Ka Leo o Na Koa also took home the awards for Best News Writing and Best Single Issue in the private school district and state divisions. The districts were divided between private and public schools.

Ka Leo o Na Koa competed with both sister Kamehameha Schools campuses as well as other schools who have traditionally excelled in student journalism, like ‘Iolani High School and Damien Memorial High School.

Seniors Alexandria Agdeppa, Ariel Kahahane, Ka`io Tubera, and Kanoa Yap along with class adviser Ms. Kye Haina attended the event hosted by the Hawai’i Publishers Association, Honolulu Star Advertiser, Midweek and PacificBasin Communications.

“It was a great experience and I’m glad that I was able to share it with my fellow editors,” said sports editor Kanoa Yap. “It feels amazing to have a part in such a prestigious achievement.”

The Hawai’i High School Journalism Awards were created to encourage young journalists to pursue a career in journalism.

Recently, the awards have seen a drop in participants. Two years ago, there were 33 schools participating in the competition, last year only 23. This year that number has dropped again to include just 20 schools. 

Missing from the competition were schools like Punahou, who stopped competing a few years ago after having achieved multiple state wins, and Radford High School, which no longer has a journalism program, according to Mr. Jay Hartwell, Ka Leo adviser at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. Mr. Hartwell emceed the lunch program.

To encourage Web journalism, a new category for best online video was added. Mililani High School won the award as well as a check from Hawai’i News Now.

This year brought other changes to the journalism awards as well. Mr. Scott Schumaker, president of PacificBasin Communications, gave award checks to the top three state winners. Mililani High School in third place received $200, Hawai’i Baptist Academy in second place received $300, and Kamehameha Schools Maui with first prize was awarded $500 as well as the traditional perpetual plaque that will be housed on their campus until next  year’s awards.