Waiakea High School Senior Research Paper

Waiakea High School Senior Project


I had the honor of judging the oral presentation portion of the senior project from the Waiakea High School Business, Engineering, Sciences & Technology (BEST) Academy.  If you’re in that academy, you’re definitely one of the BEST!  Not only did I get to meet some awesome students, but I also got to catch up with my former Waiakea High School colleagues as well as some of my friends from the business community.

At Waiakea High School, the senior project consists of four components:

  1. Research Paper
  2. Project (Internship/Job Shadowing, Service Learning Project, Performance, or Research Product)
  3. Portfolio
  4. Oral Presentation

Basically, what that means is that through this project, students get to showcase a part of their education and show how this learning experience was meaningful and valuable to them. This project validates part of their education and connects it to their future. Sam Halsted, a CTE teacher at Waiakea High School who is involved in helping students through the senior project mentioned that this is the “beginning of the beginning” for these students. This project gets students thinking about and experiencing a part of what they want to do after finishing their high school education. In some cases, it allows students to learn the valuable lesson that they actually don’t enjoy what they thought they would like.

The oral presentation held on Career “Academy Awards Night,” is a 5-8 minute presentation that allowed students to share what they learned and gained through their participation in the senior project.  The judges came from many different sectors of the community including the Bank of Hawaii, Big Island Toyota, State of Hawaii Workforce Development, Subaru Telescope, Hawaii Community College, University of Hawaii at Hilo, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Macy’s, and even underclassmen students from Waiakea High School.

BEST Academy student judges from Waiakea High School.

Why would a student put themselves through the added stress of completing a senior project in addition to carrying a full load of academics?

  • It allows students to see the connections between what they are learning now and the application to their future lives in the workplace and in college.
  • It provides real-world experiences with the responsibility for meeting timelines, making decisions, doing research, creating and performing an oral presentation.
  • It provides involvement in the community through internships, job-shadowing, community service.
  • It provides an opportunity to showcase knowledge and talents developed in Career Academy.

This year, there were 21 senior projects and 57 showcase displays. The displays were amazing. One of the students I judged created his own acrylic display board complete with LED (I think) lights using the skills he learned during his robotics experience! Logan talked to me about linear actuators, gear ratios, torque, and pneumatic tires (Yep–a little, ok, a lot over my  head) as he described his experience in the amazing robotics program at Waiakea High School. As a second grader, Logan got a Lego set as a gift and has had an interest in mechanical engineering ever since then. He is planning on attending college at UC Santa Cruz after graduating from Waiakea High School.

Although the students were very nervous as they presented to a bunch of strangers here specifically to judge them, it wasn’t all work, work, work.  We did have some laughs during the evening. We have amazing students coming out of our public schools in Hilo.  Great job, Waiakea High students and teachers!  These students are showing professionalism, passion, and excitement for their future.  Living Hilo Style.

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Judging for the 59th Science and Engineering Fair occurred at the Hawaii Convention Center on March 29th. Ms. Jordie Ocenar conducted this year’s Agency judging for the Hawaiian Entomlogical Society. The winners were as follows:

2nd Place, Junior Research Division

Summer O. Royal, Ciena A.S. Swafford, and Jasmine M. Chan; Stevenson Middle (7th Grade)

Project Title: Spray Bye Bye Lice

Mr. Malcolm Cogbill (Teacher)

Ms. Bryanna Fissori (Mentor)

They researched a spray to kill ukus which they obtained through an ad on Craig’s List.

1st Place, Junior Research Division

Megan M. Nakamoto; Waiakea Intermediate School (7th Grade)

Project Title: Caterpillar Cravings: A Study of the Food Preferences of the Noctuidae Agrotis Caterpillar on Mauna Kea

Ms. Candice L. Ota (Teacher)

Dr. Jesse Eiben (Mentor)

This is the fourth year a Nakamoto has worked with Jesse to win a science fair award! This year Ms. Nakamoto investigated different lures and food for the Agrotis caterpillar.

The Ray-Joyce Award in Medical and Veterinary Entomology

Anna V. Freitas; Iolani School

Determining the population density and distribution of Aedes albopictus

Mr. Frederick W. Heyler (Teacher)

Dr. Durrell D. Kapan (Mentor)

Ms. Freitas completed a mosquito survey on Oahu and compared it to a niche model to determine changes in time.  Also, developed an easy way for citizens to get involved and keep the project running at her school so people can keep track of mosquitos that cause diseases.

1st Place, Senior Research Division

Brandon R. I. Miyake and Lester H. C. Iwata; Waiakea High School

Project Title: Viability and optimal application of Beauveria bassiana bioinsecticide on the eradication of Chaetanaphothrips ochidii infestations on anthuriums

Whitney Aragaki (Teacher)

Dr. Robert Hollingsworth (Mentor)

They Tested different concentrations of Beauveria bassiana on anthuriums to get rid of thrips.

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