Moanalua’s PEP Team secures awards at Nationals with their outside of the box thinking

Haley Meyer, Associate Editor

This past summer the Moanalua High School’s PEP team went to nationals in Vancouver, Washington, and won a multitude of awards. They won the Best National Safety School/Club/Group Award and they also won the National Community Safety Award for Best Project. The team consisted of juniors Kaitlyn Fong, Ashlee Sakamoto, Abigail Wise, and Class of 2022 alumna Rosalyn Sproule.  PEP adviser, Kelly Koholokua, was named National Adviser of the Year.  Teacher Jackie Kaya accompanied the group to the convention.

“I’m super proud of the underclassmen stepping up and doing their [presentations] well,” Kaholokua said.

Winning project (Photo courtesy PEP)

The topic at nationals this year was “Road Safety,” but the judges were open to hearing different topics as well, Kaholokua said. The competition was project-based. This means that the students who went to Vancouver would be judged based on projects like a portfolio and a poster board. The Moanalua PEP team, on the other hand, chose to create a scrapbook project instead of a portfolio, which allowed them to stand out against the competition. 



PEP is the school’s Peer Education Program where students come together to learn and communicate about different topics that can support students’ well-being of all ages. The PEP team runs activities throughout the year such as last year’s Red Ribbon Week campaign to raise awareness of drug abuse, and the group’s Suicide Prevention Week lunchtime activities in Mene Square.

“[The program is] really about reaching more people,” Sakamoto said, about their positive messages. “Regardless of if we reach one person  or 100 people, we would still make a difference.”

This year, the PEP team is already looking for new members to join their club. Students interested in joining the program can contact Mrs. Kaholokula in M 102.

Wise, one of the group leaders this year, said she wants to keep it similar to last year, where they don’t have the same projects as everyone else, and they show that PEP and Moanalua are diverse. 

“I think keeping it different really represents PEP and Moanalua,” Wise said. “[We want to show] more of our artistic side “as well as our business side.”