Congratulations to Kenneth Romlen Alba, a fourth year UH Maui College undergraduate who entered and won the Hawaii Association of Career and Technical Education (HACTE) film contest!
The HACTE is holding an upcoming summit in 2024 and called for CTE students to create a promotional video about education in Hawaii with a theme “Reunited.” Ken’s submission was spot on and well crafted from start to finish, with a high powered portrayal of the unique perspective of learning in Hawaii.
Ken titled his submission Reunited with Aloha is in reference to societies re-emergence after the pandemic. The film opens with Hawaiian chanting, and portrays two Kanaka in ancient days sharing hā. Ken narrates the film and describes what it means to say Aloha as breathtaking scenic footage fills the screen. The scene fast forwards in time and we see a modern Ken, dressed in jeans and shoes, and hiking as he describes what it was like to grow up going to school in Hawaii and narrates about the meaning of Aloha Aina and its importance to our island communities. Over a backdrop of cinematic drum beats, Ken proclaims:
“Because it’s hard to act upon something when you have no knowledge about it. So in order to mālama, or care for our land, our ʻāina, we must start by learning about it and how to do so. And that’s where you come in, because with all that said none of this would be possible without you. Teachers, mentors, and all those in between, they’re the formula that influences that creative spark and desire to learn for all students and generations to come. So I invite you to take a look at your reason and purpose for why you do it.”
I took a moment to sit and talk with Ken about his thought process when creating the film. He shared his honest thoughts and admitted that at first, he wasn’t sure how to properly execute the guidelines.
“At first, I didn’t know how to combine the study/educational part with portraying the beauty of Maui, but I ended up choosing the word Aloha to say in a sense, the breath that gathers us together. Everyone was apart for a few years due to the pandemic so I felt it was fitting to say ‘Reunited with Aloha.’ I was able to showcase the actual authenticity of Hawaii. I talked about project based learning, which is super unique to us and was able to incorporate what it means to believe in ‘Aloha ʻāina.’ I wanted to show more about our unique way of living that I was taught while growing up here. It’s more than just being in paradise, it’s about sustainability. Growing up here, I was always taught to recycle and clean up the ʻāina. I wanted to show it in a way that tourists could understand ‘aloha aina’, that ideally we want them to know more about our goals as Hawaii natives, for them to want to do more than just use this paradise as a vacation.”
Ken thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the competition and hopes to be able to continue to take part in similar opportunities in the future. He will head to Washington in August 2023 to continue his education. Ken is available for hire for video and photography needs, as he enjoys making promotional reels for small businesses and capturing sentimental moments such as weddings and birthdays. Ken works with both locals and tourists but says his favorite clientele are the Kamaʻāina. Those work spaces feel like home, and often offer for him to join in on the grinds and fun. Kamaʻāina find Ken through word of mouth, and keeps the circle of aloha flowing by keeping him in mind for future endeavors. After his onward quest to Washington, he plans to return home to continue to thrive where he grew up, Maui.