Big Island Student Wins 2014 Hawaii State Spelling Bee… “P-L-A-N-G-E-N-C-Y””

Christianne Abella, an eighth grader at Konawaena Middle School on Hawaii Island, emerged as the 2014 champion of the aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee at PBS Hawaii Saturday night.

Christianne Abella

Christianne Abella

Christianne will represent Hawaii in the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. May 25-31. The national bee is televised live on ESPN.

Christianne’s winning word was “plangency” – the quality of a loud, resounding sound.

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President and CEO; Christianne Abella, 2014 aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee Champion; Susan Eichor, aio President and Chief Operating Officer

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President and CEO; Christianne Abella, 2014 aio Hawaii State Spelling Bee Champion; Susan Eichor, aio President and Chief Operating Officer

Runner-up Hope Kudo, another eighth grader from Hawaii Island, represented Kealakehe Intermediate School. She and Christianne were this year’s Hawaii Island co-champions.

The other 12 contestants were:

  1. Fred Adella of Waimea Canyon Middle School, Grade 6 – Kauai
  2. Kelly Brown of Ewa Makai Middle School, Grade 8 – Leeward Oahu
  3. John Griffin of Our Savior Lutheran School, Grade 6 – Central Oahu
  4. Susan Hasegawa of Iolani School, Grade 8 – Honolulu
  5. Katherine Hui of Iolani School, Grade 8 – Honolulu
  6. Reanna Inafuku of Hawaii Baptist Academy, Grade 7 – Windward Oahu
  7. Alisha Maake of Iroquois Point Elementary School, Grade 5 – Leeward Oahu
  8. Leila Nelson of Kapaa Middle School, Grade 7 – Kauai
  9. Nic Sarji of Aikahi Elementary School, Grade 5 – Windward Oahu
  10. Ameera Waterford of Emmanuel Lutheran School, Grade 6 – Maui
  11. Amalie Yach of Holy Family Catholic Academy, Grade 8 – Central Oahu
  12. Paul Yamane of Kamalii Elementary School, Grade 4 – Maui

PBS Hawaii Star-Studded Cast to Broadcast NEW HOME Campaign Live on Sunday

A star-studded cast of Hawaii residents will appear on PBS Hawaii Sunday, November 18 at 6:30 pm HST to help the statewide public television station engage public support for its campaign to build a new home. The 90-minute live broadcast of the NEW HOME Campaign is available online via livestreaming on

Click for more information

The program will be rebroadcast and also available online on Thursday, November 22 at 8:00 pm HST.

Broadway performer Loretta Ables Sayre will host the program, featuring slack key guitar master Keola Beamer; singer Marlene Sai; YouTube sensation Ryan Higa; singer/composer Paula Fuga; jazz singer and PBS Hawaii Board member Jimmy Borges; singer/musician and PBS Hawaii Board member Kawika Kahiapo; entertainer Danny Kaleikini; slam poet Kealoha; voice coach Neva Rego; ukulele impresario Roy Sakuma; storyteller and Enterprise Honolulu President and CEO Pono Shim; Searider Productions educator Candy Suiso; Hawaii and San Francisco public broadcasting executive Mary Bitterman; and iconic artist Pegge Hopper. Singers will be accompanied by Dan Del Negro on the piano and John Kolivas on bass.

The program is intended to raise public awareness and financial support for a $30 million capital campaign to develop a site that the station purchased at 315 Sand Island Access Road at Nimitz Highway. PBS Hawaii must vacate the University of Hawaii Manoa building it has occupied for 40 years because the university needs the space for expansion.

To date, the public television station has raised more than half of its goal.

“We belong to the community. We want all of our citizens to know that Hawaii’s sole member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) needs a new home, a place to grow into a greater vision,” said PBS Hawaii President and CEO Leslie Wilcox.

PBS Hawaii is the island home of the nationally recognized statewide student news network HIKI NŌ, as well as Sesame Street, Antiques Roadshow, NOVA, PBS NewsHour, Frontline, Great Performances and Masterpiece.

The private nonprofit organization teams media and education, and is supported primarily by individuals, businesses and grants. Federal funding accounts for one-seventh of the station’s budget.

For more information, please visit


HIKI NŌ Premieres Monday on PBS Hawaii

Hawaii Students from 55 Public, Private and Charter Schools Deliver an Historic Launch Season of Programming  from the Nation’s First Statewide

Media Release:

They’re on the verge of making history. Several hundred students from Kauai, Niihau, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii Island are working feverishly on their first newscasts – their opportunity to tell the stories of their communities to a statewide television audience and on the worldwide web.

With the guidance of their teachers and support from the PBS Hawaii team – Hiki Nō Executive Producer Robert Pennybacker , Managing Editor Sue Yim, and Producer/Editor Lawrence Pacheco – these students are creating the first statewide student news network in the nation.  Each newscast will be produced by an average of nine school teams.

The Bank of Hawaii Foundation donated $100,000 and will be the exclusive Hiki Nō broadcast and webcast underwriter.  “There are stories unique to every community on every island, and Hiki Nō allows students to share their perspectives on community issues with all of us,” said Donna Tanoue, President of the Bank of Hawaii Foundation.  “We’re looking forward to seeing students tell their stories their way.”

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawaii President & CEO, said, “We deeply appreciate the Bank of Hawaii Foundation’s investment in the future, giving students across the state equal access to a powerful learning vehicle for 21st-century skills. The program builds critical thinking and teamwork, and we’ll see collaborative leaders emerge.”

In this first season, Hiki Nō will air every Monday at 5 PM, starting February 28, with encores scheduled for Mondays @ 5 pm, Tuesdays @ 12:30 pm, Fridays @ 9:30 pm, Saturdays @ 12:30 pm, and Sundays @ 3:00 pm.  Hiki Nō programs will also be available at

Participation in Hiki Nō is open to all middle and high schools in the state at no cost. School teams producing the debut newscast are:

  • Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School , Kauai
  • Kalani High School , East Honolulu
  • Kamehameha Schools Kapālama High School
  • Kawananakoa Middle School, Nuuanu
  • Konawaena High School , West Hawaii Island
  • Maui High School, Kahului
  • Maui Waena Intermediate School, Kahului
  • Sacred Hearts Academy , Kaimuki
  • Waipahu High School , Central Oahu

Major Development Funding for Hiki Nō is from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and citizens of Hawaii .

For more information on Hiki Nō go to or contact Susan Yim , Managing Editor for Hiki Nō at

PBS Hawaii… South Points Connection to TV Land

CEO of PBS Hawaii Leslie Wilcox talks about some of the woes that it takes to get PBS Hawaii to the residents on the Southern tip of the Big Island.

Her most recent blog, “For Crying Out Loud, in South Point” she mentions:

…The only “free” TV is PBS Hawaii. We’re the only over-the-air broadcaster that spends time, energy and money to reach the under-served in a large southeastern area of Hawaii Island.

We do it through a series of translator stations, which pick up our signal in Hilo, and pass it along, all the way down to Na’alehu and South Point.  We must go to out-of-the-way places to build and maintain these translators…

PBS Hawaii is the only channel that I DVR now and I rarely watch television much these days.

I’m glad that the folks down in South Point don’t have to scream… “We want our MTV… err PBS”