Nā Leo TV hosts awards ceremony for inaugural Youth Media Challenge

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An initiative that drew more than 250 Big Island youths between 11 and 24 years old and participation from 24 schools recently marked a significant milestone in promoting youth engagement and content creation on the island.

Nā Leo TV Youth Media Challenge participants pose with photos of them taken on the “red carpet” during the awards ceremony May 18. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)

Nā Leo TV on May 18 celebrated the creativity and talent of those youths during its inaugural Youth Media Challenge awards ceremony at the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo.

“We are inspired by the stories and ideas our youth have shared and are thrilled by the overwhelming response to this challenge,” said Ashley Kierkiewicz, president and CEO of Nā Leo TV. “We are already planning for next year’s challenge to be even bigger and better. Given the fantastic participation, we will work with schools over the summer to invest in equipment for media labs, enabling youth to continue their content creation journey.”

The awards ceremony was a vibrant affair, emceed by popular radio personality Ku‘ehu Mauga. Attendees enjoyed a lively lunch hour with music by Positive Motion, further adding to the festive atmosphere.


Keynote speaker Lacy Deniz, a former Hawai‘i News Now reporter and Big Island native, delivered an inspiring address. Deniz emphasized the value of perseverance and dedication, encouraging youth to pursue their dreams no matter the obstacles.

Nā Leo TV President and CEO Ashley Kierkiewicz speaks during the awards ceremony for the first Youth Media Challenge. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)

The enthusiasm was shared by attendees, including parents such as Jessica Henry, whose son was among the award recipients.

“We really enjoyed ourselves,” said Henry. “My son won an award, and it has really encouraged him towards making bigger dreams and goals come true. What a great event!”


A total of 54 awards were presented in 13 categories for media projects such as digital artwork, public service announcement and short film, each sponsored by local organizations dedicated to supporting community and youth empowerment.

Winners received a medal, certificate and one of many prizes totaling nearly $20,000.

Prizes included Insta360 cameras, GoPros, phone cages, gimbals, drawing monitors, Beats Studio Buds, Wacom Bamboo pens, selfie sticks, LED pix art displays, light panels, gaming and podcast microphones, ring light kits, portable lights, wireless mics and phone cranes.


All participants received a swag bag with an exclusive commemorative T-shirt, achievement certificate, hydroflask, stickers, pens and a notebook.

A recording of the awards ceremony is available to stream on

  • A winner in the inaugural Youth Media Challenge pose for a photo after receiving his award. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)
  • Winners of the first Nā Leo TV Youth Media Challenge pose for a photo with Nā Leo TV President and CEO Ashley Kierkiewicz. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)
  • A winner of Nā Leo TV’s Youth Media Challenge is given his medal during the recent awards ceremony. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)
  • Participants of Nā Leo TV’s inaugural Youth Media Challenge have their picture taken on the “red carpet” during the recent awards ceremony. (Courtesy of Nā Leo TV)
  • Courtesy of Nā Leo TV
  • Courtesy of Nā Leo TV
  • Courtesy of Nā Leo TV

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