HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Tuesday, April 25, the 20th Annual ‘Ōlelo Youth Xchange Student Video Competition Awards Gala took place at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.

Known as the Keiki Oscars, the ‘Ōlelo Youth Xchange Student Video Competition Awards Gala is the largest gathering of keiki filmmakers in Hawaiʻi.

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The Youth Xchange was the brainchild of the Department of Education and former Gov. David Ige. It was then executed and launched by ‘Ōlelo Community Media in 2003. The program and its awards event have exploded in popularity since its inception.

In attendance was filmmaker Chris Lee, former Governor of Hawaiʻi David Ige, Department of Education Superintendent Keith T. Hayashi, Alaska Airlines Daniel Chun to name a few.

For 2023, the big winners were Baldwin High School and Highlands Intermediate School. They beat out 50 other schools for YXC’s top honors.

Of these 50 schools, there were 34 winners announced at the Gala.

Baldwin won the award for the prestigious “Expert” category with their video named “Family”.

“As the Expert category winner, Baldwin received a LiveU Solo Pro valued at $1,950. The LiveU unit will allow Baldwin to create 4K-quality videos and on-the-go content from remote locations,” explained ‘Ōlelo.

Meanwhile, Highlands captured the distinguished “Junior Expert” category with “Embrace, Not Reject”.

“For being named the Junior Expert, Highlands Intermediate won an equipment-and-accessory prize pack valued at approximately $1,700. It included a Canon M50 camera kit and accessories, as well as wireless microphones,” said ‘Ōlelo.

Each of the remaining 32 winners in the YXC took home prize packs worth $780 that included Canon EOS M200 cameras and LED light panels with stands.

There were over 500 students, educators, parents and community leaders who attended the awards event.

“The winners were selected from over 600 videos that entered the competition, presented by First Hawaiian Bank. This year’s submissions were created by students who attend public, charter and private schools statewide or [who] are homeschooled,” said ‘Ōlelo.

It wasn’t only students who walked away with prizes and recognition for their hard work. Each year, the YXC identifies and celebrates a teacher who has gone above and beyond in equipping and mentoring their students.

Michelle Okinaka-Kwong of Waipahu Elementary School received the Second Annual Media Teacher Award and was rewarded with two round-trip tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines serves.

This award is determined by the students themselves in recognition of the importance of media literacy in the education of keiki.

Former YXC three-time finalist but never winner Dillon Ancheta and radio and TV personality Mele Apana were the emcees for the awards gala.

Local boy band Crossing Rain provided the event’s entertainment.

Since its inception, ‘Ōlelo Youth Xchange has awarded nearly 650 video cameras to media-education programs in schools throughout Hawai‘i.

So, if you know of a keiki who wants to learn how to become a filmmaker, regardless of their age, then contact ‘Ōlelo Community Media.

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‘Ōlelo Youth Xchange was launched in 2003 to give island keiki a voice to tell stories in a variety of video formats and about subjects that are meaningful to them.