Chat sessions on IGTV feature alumni from Mid-Pacific

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A Mid-Pacific student watches the IGTV series, Chat Sessions during school. 2019 alumni Kira Morimoto directed this series and interviews former students to talk about their favorite school.

Archer Liang, Staff Writer

A series of new videos on IGTV are aiming to boost school pride among new Mid-Pacific graduates. The videos, called “Chat Sessions,” feature alumni from recent classes explaining what they love about the school. 

The series posts weekly on the school’s Instagram and YouTube channel.

2019 alumni Kira Morimoto, who hosts the videos, worked together with the school to create the series.

Morimoto said her behind-the-scenes team had a goal to engage and bring people closer to the school community.

“If the kids care about Mid-Pac, their parents will care about Mid-Pac. By making kids care about Mid-Pac, we not only get school pride, but also get resources to support our programs,” said Morimoto.

Morimoto, who now attends Syracuse University, said she thought it would be cool if they incorporated former students and if the alumni could come back to school, they could share their great experiences.

“It starts with really abstract ideas, with big goals of generating more school pride, is something that I noticed is declining ever since I have been to Mid-Pac.”

— Kira Morimoto.

Mid-Pacific Director of the Annual Fund and 1996 alumni Holly Iwasaki first contacted Morimoto about the series this past summer. Iwasaki said the pride of Mid-Pacific was the huge network of people who support students, teachers and alumni.

“When you feel proud, you want to come back, you give support. Is that love you feel for your school; it is the gratitude you feel for your teachers and what you learn. It’s just an overall great feeling about your school that we hope all students feel as they become alumni,” said Iwasaki.

2020 Mid-Pacific alumni Samantha Newman, who was one of the interviewees in the series, said school pride involves cheering for the team, wearing the school logo and acting in ways that represent the school. 

“Other people recognize you are from Mid-Pacific just by what you do and how you act,” said Newman.

Iwasaki said when she was a student at Mid-Pacific, lots of activities kept the community bonded together. 

“Now with your generations, I like to see how you, as students, are leading that cause now too, planning events and building school pride is more student driven now,” she said.

Morimoto said the series’ target audience consisted of everyone but especially Gen Z and young alumni.

“In TikTok, each video is 30 seconds then you swipe and that video is gone, so we try to keep younger people engaged,” said Morimoto.

Morimoto said they tried to balance serious responses with little bursts of humor to keep viewers  engaged.

“We made it funny and not too long so we can reach the younger generation. We also don’t want to forget about our donors and parents who might not appreciate just laughs in the video,” said Morimoto.

Morimoto said in her sister’s grade, the class of 2021, a lot of people know her and she knows them so it was fun and exciting for students when they saw people’s faces like her or other alumni.

“When a young alum comes back to school, and I was in class, it is kind of  fun seeing these people I used to look up to, just come back to school. They had such a great experience there,” said Morimoto. 

Leion Van Osdol, a 2020 alumni said the Chat Sessions are a tool for people to learn about the school as a whole.

“It is a helpful tool to learn how things work in Mid-Pacific and it represents Mid-Pac as a whole,” said Van Osdol.

When Morimoto first came to Mid-Pacific in seventh grade, there was a great vibe, and you could tell that everybody from Mid-Pacific is proud to be there, she said. 

However, as Morimoto grew up and went to high school, she said she noticed the Mid-Pacific school pride was declining.

“Maybe high school kids think they were too cool for school all the time,” said Morimoto. “We were looking for ways to make kids care about Mid-Pacific again.”

A Mid-Pacific student watches the IGTV series Chat Sessions during school. 2019 alumni Kira Morimoto directed this series and interviews former students to talk about their favorite school. (Kayla Tom)

Over the course of this past summer, Morimoto came up with the ideas of how the school could boost school pride. As a result, she gathered young alumni to talk about their  perspective as former students and any advice they could give to current students and COVID-19 messages, especially for the graduating class of 2021.

“I just talked to them on camera about some basic questions and if they come up with topics, I would dive deeper into that,” said Morimoto.

Morimoto said she was amazed by how well put together the video was; the behind-the-screen team had made the video great. 

With no experience at making projects like this, Morimoto said she would not be able to get the project this far without the filming and editing team from Studio Red Film, and a parent of Mid-Pacific alumni.

Iwasaki said she was thankful for viewers who were interested in the series and felt all the messages seemed truly genuine. 

“Their messages were not staged and were from their heart and it was what they really felt about the school, at each other, what the school has done for them and the importance of keeping together with your classmates,” said Iwasaki.

Newman said current students should enjoy and get involved in what they want to be a part of, and work hard.

“I hope that the current students just don’t take for granted even just going to school. Try to enjoy, and to really get involved in the aspects they want to, and experience as much as they can throughout high school. And work hard, that will have a great pay off academically, and in friendships,” said Newman.

In the original version of this story, the name Samantha Newman was misspelled and year Kira Morimoto graduated was incorrect. Na Pueo regrets the error.