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How a Competitive Gymnast Finds Her Way Through COVID-19

HIKI NŌ #1205 (Thurs., December 3, 2020  7:30 pm)

HIKI NŌ Student Reflections on Distance Learning, Part Five / HIKI NŌ

As we begin the first new school year in the COVID-19 era, HIKI NŌ students reflect on their experiences with Distance Learning and other challenges brought on by the pandemic:

*Sera Sanchez, an eighth grader at Kailua Intermediate School on Oʻahu, is a competitive gymnast. Like many student athletes, she struggles to stay in shape and maintain her skills while sheltering at home. Sera practices on a small mat at home. “I still feel like I’m falling behind,” says Sera, “but I’m doing the best I can.”

Carl Boberg, a sophomore at Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy on Hawaiʻi Island, moved from Germany to the Big Island as a new student at HPA. Upon his arrival, Carl had to quarantine for four weeks with eight other HPA students. “Quarantine sounds boring,” says Carl, “but these four weeks were probably the funniest four weeks in my life. I met super nice people, we got super close and we had so much fun.”

Navie Domingo, a senior at Farrington High School on Oʻahu, talks about how her mental health has been declining during the pandemic because of her inability to hang out with family and friends. “Right now I’m just hanging on as best as I can,” says Navie, “until I can finally reunite with my friends and family.”

Rona Uclusin, a junior at Leilehua High School on Oʻahu, expresses how Distance Learning is a struggle for her because of the many distractions, such as her phone and social media, that pull her attention away from her school work. To improve the situation, she has turned to planners and calendaring apps that have helped her stay on track.

Jack Vedder, a senior at Kaiser High School on Oʻahu, explains how while distancing from others, he has been able to catch up with himself emotionally and personally. By not having to rely on others so much, Jack feels he is learning how to be self-sufficient.


In “How to Make a Layup”, a tutorial video by Ace Loftus (a fifth grader at Hōnaunau Elementary School on Hawaiʻi Island), we learn how to improve our technique in the perfect skill to work on during a lockdown—making basketball layups.


As the 10th anniversary of HIKI NŌ’s February 28, 2011 debut approaches, we are presenting a series of stories on outstanding HIKI NŌ alumni from the program’s first decade. The alumni profile in this episode spotlights best friends Kaitlin Arita-Chang and Monica Schmidt, who both graduated from H.P. Baldwin High School on Maui during the first season of HIKI NŌ. During their senior year, they partnered on a HIKI NŌ story about Maui’s plastic bag ban, which won 1st Place for Best News Writing in the very first HIKI NŌ Awards. Kaitlin went on to become press secretary and deputy communications director for U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono and is now working in public relations in Honolulu. Monica has gone on to become the executive producer of the morning show at FOX5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.