Maui High School freshman, Christine Alonzo was invited by President Obama to attend the first-ever White House South by South Lawn (SXSL) event. The Women in Technology (WIT) Project of the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) sponsored the Washington D.C. trip for Alonzo and her former Maui Waena STEMworks™ AFTERschool teacher, Jennifer Suzuki. The two-day festival, celebrating the spirit of innovation, brought together creators, organizers, and entrepreneurs who work to improve the lives of people in their communities and in the world. Keynote speakers and panels discussed how to solve the country’s most pressing problems while exhibits depicted a future that is full of opportunity for everyone.
In June 2016, while still at Maui Waena Intermediate School, Alonzo attended the PBS Student Reporting Labs’ All-Star Camp in D.C. While attending the camp, she and her group, made up of students from Colorado, California and Virginia, produced a story about a Georgetown graduate who created an interactive website (socialgirlz.com) for African American girls to network and support each other. After Alonzo completed the video, it was submitted to the White House Student Film Festival for this year’s theme, The World I Want to Live In. Although the film was not chosen as a finalist, it was selected as an honorable mention along with an invitation to Alonzo and her group to attend the White House film festival and the inaugural SXSL event.
“It was so amazing to have my video honored like that,” said Alonzo. “Attending the film festival was one of the highlights of my life and really inspired me to continue telling stories and creating videos. The SXSL experience was even more inspirational because I got to meet so many people who are fostering innovation and doing wonderful things in their communities.”
SXSL challenged us to build toward an America that is full of opportunities for everyone.
Christine Alonzo, Maui High School Freshman