Kahuku High student's photo selected for national display


A spontaneous photo taken by teen Makoa Ho, a 2014 Kahuku High and Intermediate School graduate, is one of only 56 national award-winning works chosen for display at Washington, D.C.’s U.S. Department of Education Building on Sept. 19.

​​"Compulsion" by Makoa Ho.

"Compulsion," Makoa Ho

New York-based Scholastic Art & Writing Awards selected Ho’s photograph, “Compulsion,” for a gold medal in its 2014 recognition program honoring creative teens in the arts and writing. Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Stephen King and John Updike are past winners of the 91-year-old organization’s program.

Last year, the Awards received 230,000 original works from students. This year’s entries also came from Croatia, Hong Kong, Iran, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Canada. Ho’s work will travel across the U.S. as part of a yearlong exhibit starting this month.

​“Compulsion” captures Ho’s friend, Brooklyn Dombroski, whipping her hair around as the pair stood at Puaena Point in Haleiwa. Ho, son of professional surfer Derek Ho and cousin of singers Don and Hoku Ho, said he snapped the picture on a whim.

“I’ve been into photography and art most of my life,” Ho, 18, said. “I chose this photo because I liked it and not to win or to please anyone. This award is meaningful to me because it shows that people actually like my work. I’m proud of myself.”

And people do like his work: Professionals in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients, judged the 28 categories open to 7th- through 12th-graders. Gold medalist Ho was flown to Carnegie Hall in New York for the awards ceremony.

“Makoa’s a talented, hard-working student with a great eye for photography, and capturing people and the ocean,” said KHIS Art Department Chair Tara Gumapac. “This is our first national gold-medal winner in my half-decade of teaching and it’s an incredible inspiration to our students.”

Now a freshman at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Ho is majoring in marketing.

2014 Hawaii regional awards




Maggie Ching, 13

Aliamanu Middle

"Untitled #4"

Silver Medal, Drawing

Rhea Erice, 16

Leilehua High

"Her Looking Back"

Silver Medal, Drawing

Nicole Gottman, 15

Leilehua High


Silver Medal, Drawing

Ryan Hanscam, 17

Baldwin High

"Deer Ryan"

Gold Medal, Drawing

Makoa Ho, 17

Kahuku High & Intermediate


Gold Medal, Photography

Jared Kanoa, 17

University Lab School

"Hapai Pu" ("To Carry Together")

Silver Medal, Ceramics & Glass

Shaydon Koki, 13

University Lab School

"Sam the Ram"

Silver Medal, Sculpture

Koa San Luis, 15

Mid-Pacific Institute

"She's Coming"

Silver Medal, Film & Animation

Kyra Tan, 12

Iolani School

"Oil Spill"

American Visions Award, Printmaking

​Hawaii awards

View student works from Hawaii that garnered honors in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Contact Information

Jorene Barut

Phone: 808-233-5700

Email: Jorene_Barut@hawaiidoe.org


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