National Art Honor Society invokes “Moana” for Wyland Mural Competition


Photo courtesy NAHS

National Art Honor Society Members

Hatasha Horiuchi, Staff Writer

 The Wyland National Art Challenge aims to raise awareness towards the environment and water conservation. Every year The Wyland Foundation encourages students to interpret conservation issues through art. Moanalua’s National Art Honor Society (NAHS) takes on the challenge and are committed to the 5-by-8-foot mural. 

Senior Dianne Marie Cabico, NAHS president, led the 30 student members and made sure they stayed dedicated and worked consistently.  Advisor Jeffrey Fujimoto provided guidance. The students spent two months working on the ocean-themed mural and finished last week, just in time for the December 15 deadline. 

“We just completed the mural after weeks and weeks of work and I’m feeling very satisfied with it,” Cabico said. “Especially since we dealt with so much trials and tribulations with the mural, I can very much say that I’m glad that we can finally submit the mural.”

Photo courtesy NAHS

The mural was inspired by the waters along the Coast of California, the students had to do a lot of research on the sea life in order for the mural to come out accurately. They combined all the students’ references in order to build the final draft. 

“One of the main references came from the (movie) “Moana” scene where the baby Moana is saving the sea turtle,” senior Lorelei Barrett said. 

Fujimoto said that they worked hard and feels that because they put themselves into the work they do, they will succeed in the competition.

“Winning isn’t everything,” he said. “What’s important is for the students to come together for a purpose and to have art students express themselves visually.”

Students who are involved in the project are a mix of students in his classes and those in the NAHS club. The process it took to come up with a final draft included students drawing out their interpretation and then coming together and adding elements from people’s art into a final draft. 

“As the NAHS Club President, I basically led the entire team in regards to giving out different instructions and directions, preparing what needs to be sketched on the mural, and delegating duties and responsibilities to different members in the club.” 

Club member using a reference photo to paint a turtle. Hatasha Horiuchi

This allowed for all the students to be involved in the process of making it, and the size of the mural is an exception to having students to have the space to lay down their ideas. 

Senior Lana Sentilles also worked on silhouettes and also the “sexy sea urchins and the shading on the waves.” 

“I have worked with paint before,” Sentilles said, “but I am more comfortable with pen and ink. Still, I was able to adapt to anything.”



Many of the students are interested in the issues concerning the ocean and are glad to participate in raising awareness through their art. 

“I’m really interested in the theme of the challenge – I think that’s an important topic, especially in today’s world, like climate change and all these global issues. I think that it’s really relevant to current world problems,” Daysha Gonsalez, one of the NAHS students, said.  

Most students in the club were only available to work on it after school or during lunch meetings. Some other students were more involved in the project, coming in after school and during breaks every day. 

“[The students came in] practically every day, not everybody came in at the same time, different peoples on different days, they came in whenever they can,” Fujimoto said. 

The students have been working hard as a team, highlighting the importance of teamwork,  and contributing to something together. 

Club member working on the mural. Hatasha Horiuchi

“I’m pretty much here 24/7, I think I did quite a bit,” junior Geanelle Ramirez said. “I’ve been working on it so much so I feel proud of the project. I liked the experience of last year, and the feeling of accomplishment in contributing to something big. Also the people, I like the people in this club.” 

NAHS students put a lot of time and effort into the Wyland Art Mural and will go into Winter Break satisfied. 

The results of the contest will be announced on December 20.