Momilani Morning Messenger, CHOOSE LOVE to shine upon a new day

Feb 2, 2023 | PC Community

Momilani Elementary School has successfully enhanced the 2022-23 school year by fully embracing and building upon the school’s culture and philosophy structured around the Choose Love Movement by incorporating the student Momilani Ambassadors who welcome guests, and also introduce them to the campus with guided tours, answering questions they may have and follow up presentations.

The Ambassadors were formed as a requirement for the pre-academies program. that follows both Pearl City High School and Waipahu High School’s highly successful and award-winning academies programs. During the 2022-23 school year, and under the guidance of Momilani Elementary resource teachers Masaru Uchino and Lynn Wakahiro, the Momilani Morning Messenger program was born. Momilani Ambassadors work in teams, rotating as morning broadcast technicians and speakers.

Every morning, Monday through Friday, they prepare a 2-minute broadcast script following a set program that focuses on broadcast announcement elements such as a flag pledge, school announcements, lunch menu, Choose Love Challenge, and a daily message that includes Social Emotional Learning (SEL) which is a required element in the district complex to address following post COVID.

Masaru Uchino, Momilani Morning Messenger Advisor, Resource/Media

“This school year we actually started what we’re calling the Momilani Ambassadors which is one of the requirements for the pre-academies that the Pearl City/Waipahu Complex wanted us to move into to follow after the Pearl City High School and Waipahu High School academies with their ideas, the trickledown theory. We start pre-academies in elementary and get them ready for middle school, and the middle school will do pre-academies as well; and prepare them as they move into high school.

So, one of the requirements is to have Ambassadors who are the students that whenever we have quests on campus, they are the ones who give the tours and introduce the guests to our campus and show them around and answer questions.

We did an academies trip to Florida back in September, and we visited three high schools and two middle schools. At three of the schools, we were there in the morning, and they would do announcements over a loudspeaker. I know at one-point Momilani had somewhat of a morning messenger, so I thought it would be nice to bring that back, and of course using all my media equipment,

I thought about doing a broadcast. I pitched the broadcast idea to Principal Arakawa as a way to get our ambassadors to practice their public speaking so that they’re not out of practice. It’s been really a learning experience for them. Speaking in front of people is difficult and in front of a camera, for some of them it’s nerve racking, but they have worked through it. Some are on their third or fourth broadcast.

It’s a 2-minute broadcast where they have a set program that they follow and where we do a flag pledge, lunch menu announcement, Choose Love Challenge, and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) which is a required element in the district complex to address following post COVID.”

Lynn Wakahiro, Momilani Ambassadors lead, Morning Messenger Advisor,
Curriculum & Student Activities Coordinator

When we first started, we had a prepared script for them to read.  The challenge was in simply being able to speak in front of the camera, have composure, and try not to look down at the script too often.  For most of them, that alone was nerve-racking.  Since January, it has progressed to the students choosing the Choose Love Challenge according to something they see as a need or that resonates in them and composing it for the broadcast. 

They meet with me to work on their script. I usually have to nudge them to do it sooner rather than later.  It’s their ideas, so I’m just there to ask them guiding questions and give feedback. Often, the kids use their own personal examples, but it depends on what each child is comfortable with. I want it to come from them. Kids speaking to kids.  They come up with then affirmations themselves. Masa and I talk practically every day about what is going well, how the broadcast can be improved, how we can work smarter, not harder…it’s like an ongoing rough draft.”

I would like to thank Lynn Wakahiro and Masaru Uchino for the opportunity to sit in recently while the morning broadcast crew prepared for their Momilani Morning Messenger broadcast. Sasha Hernandez-Saca (Technician) and Kalei Ninomiya (Speaker) did a great job in their broadcast team roles. They were polite, focused, and welcomed me to their school
and broadcast studio.

Momilani Ambassadors are an inspiration and a shining light with their unique interaction with visitors to their school and daily positive messaging and communication (based on the Choose Love Movement, Choose Love Challenge) with the Momilani Elementary student body, faculty, and administration via the Momilani Morning Messenger.

Photos by Barry Villamil |

Pictured L-R: Masaru Uchino, Sasha Hernandez-Saca, Kalei Ninomiya, Lynn Wakahiro