Stevenson Middle School student wins “Here to Help” mascot design contest

09-May-2024

Her name is Kokua, and she's "a strong savior and is ready to help anyone," the artist said.

​Chloe Yu, a sixth-grader at Stevenson Middle School, created the winning design for the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s mascot design contest for its “Here to Help” initiative, hosted by the Department’s Student Services Branch. The initiative is aimed at supporting student mental health.

Yu’s artwork was one of over 60 student submissions for the contest, which was timed to coincide with National Children's Mental Health Awareness Month. Four finalists were announced and open to public voting on the Department’s Instagram account. Finalists included Emily-Ann Oshiro and Brayley Ah Mow-Wauke, both juniors at Castle High School, and Kalaʻionalani Bishop, a fifth-grader at Pūʻōhala School.

Yu said her mascot’s name is Kokua. 

“She symbolizes power, strength, courage, and determination,” she said. “I drew Kokua because I believe that anyone can help one another and if we work together, we can change the world for the better.”

The hand-drawn mascot has kalo leaves for hair and a kalo corm as a head with a heart on her body that reads “here to help.”

“I also incorporated simple clothing designs such as gloves, shoes, and a cape to give off a superhero impression so that you can tell Kokua is a strong savior and is ready to help anyone,” she said.

Yu, and all of the finalists, will receive art materials and a certificate. Yu will also receive a 3D version of her award-winning design. 

The contest was open to all K-12 Hawai‘i public school students and called for a design that incorporated the “Here to Help” kalo leaf shape, had green elements, had facial features, evoked positive feelings and had timeless features.

The “Here to Help” initiative highlights specific ways to support student mental health and well-being using the following identified priorities from the Hawai‘i Multi-Tiered System of Support:

  • ​On-going screening and progress monitoring
  • ​Equitable access to mental health services
  • Parent, family and community engagement
  • Targeted training for adults
  • ​Safe and supportive learning environments
  • ​Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for students and adults
  • ​Mental health literacy and connections that support student well-being
  • ​Suicide prevention, crisis and trauma response
To learn more about school-based well-being and mental health support and services, reach out to a school's main office or contact the Hawai'i Keiki Hotline at (844) 436-3888 (toll-free) to access assistance.


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