UH students sweep local advertising, design awards

Repost from UH News. June 10, 2024

University of Hawaiʻi students from Kapiʻolani Community College, UH West Oʻahu and UH Maui College swept the college category of the 2024 Pele Awards held in May in Waikīkī. The Pele Awards is one of 15 National District Competitions for the American Advertising Awards (also known as the ADDYs) to recognize excellence in advertising and design.

Three illustrated boxes of tea
Cat Daniels Rivero’s Voyager Tea

The Best of Show award went to Kapiʻolani CC student Cat Daniels Rivero for Voyage Tea in the illustration-campaign category. Rivero also received a $2,500 cash scholarship from the NMG Network and Eleven 17 Creative scholarship program.

“Winning Pele Awards has made me feel like I’m moving in the right direction and has further motivated me to keep working hard,” Rivero said. “That moment was especially heartening because I got to share it with my professors. Knowing how dedicated they are to us (students), when I walked up on stage, I really wanted to grab the mic and give them a big shout-out for all the office hours and weekend Zoom calls they’ve given me!”

Mango juice bottle label with an illustration of a mango bird
Leighna-Ann Lariosa’s Hou Pressed Campaign

Her classmate, Leighna-Ann Lariosa, won the Special Judges Award for her Hou Pressed Campaign in the integrated brand identity campaign category.

UH West Oʻahu Creative Media student Ashley Macho won first place for the American Advertising Federation Hawaiʻi Shining Star Scholarship ($2,000).

The Pele Gold winners in all national categories are sent to the National Finals of the American Advertising Awards Competition to represent District 13.

Asian food with logo of a happy cat
Melanie Denda’s Lucky Belly Rebranded Logo

Melanie Denda, who graduated from UH West Oʻahu in December 2023, won two gold and one bronze Pele Award. One of Denda’s gold-winning projects Lucky Belly Rebranded Logo also advanced to the 2024 American Advertising Awards, where her entry won a silver award.

Denda said she was shocked when she received the ADDY Award and messaged all of her family members and friends that she won.

“I was in disbelief and extremely happy,” Denda said. “It was an incredible and unexpected honor.”

Read more about UH West Oʻahu honorees at Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

2024 Pele Award Winners


Cat Daniels Rivero (Pele Gold and Best of Show), Kapiʻolani CC
Project: Voyage Tea
Category: Illustration – campaign
*Winner of a $2,500 Presenting Sponsors Cash Scholarship from NMG Network and Eleven 17 Creative

Leighna-Ann Lariosa (Pele Gold and Special Judges Award), Kapiʻolani CC
Project: Hou Pressed Campaign
Category: Integrated brand identity campaign
*Second place winner of an $800 AAF Hawaiʻi Shining Star Scholarship

Melanie DendaUH West Oʻahu
Project: Akko
Category: Interactive/online advertising & promotion campaign

Melanie DendaUH West Oʻahu (also won a silver American Advertising Award)
Project: Lucky Belly Rebranded Logo
Category: Logo Design

Cassandra NeriKapiʻolani CC
Project: Serene Branding
2 Categories: Point of purchase, Logo design

Julz CalasicasKapiʻolani CC
Project: Typography Composition
Category: Publication design – cover/editorial spread or feature – series

Mari SeymourKapiʻolani CC
Project: The Moon
Category: Website (desktop or mobile)

Sua Lee, Kapiʻolani CC
Project: The Bus Mobile App Design
Category: App (mobile or web-based)


Cassandra NeriKapiʻolani CC
Project: Serene Branding
Category: Packaging

Hanna ShibataKapiʻolani CC
Project: Editorial Design for Kehinde Wiley
Category: Publication design – cover/editorial spread or feature – series

Leighna-Ann LariosaKapiʻolani CC
Project: Cropify Mobile App
Category: App (mobile or web-based)

Leighna-Ann LariosaKapiʻolani CC
Project: Cropify Logo
Category: Logo design

Cat Daniels RiverosKapiʻolani CC
Project: Ubud
Category: Logo design


Faith Christy SolivenUH Maui College
Project: The Stay Series: Hawaiʻi is Home
Category: Television advertising campaign

Melanie DendaUH West Oʻahu
Project: Akko Rebranded Logo
Category: Logo design

James GodKapiʻolani CC
Project: Odds & Ends, Oil on Canvas 30×22″
Category: Illustration

Hanna ShibataKapiʻolani CC
Project: What is H1B?
Category: Animation or special effects

Other Pele Awards honorees included high school division students of UH West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media alumni Dexter Corpuz and Scott Alquisa, both of whom are now educators at Maui and Waipahu high schools, respectively.

View the 2024 Pele Awards College Division Winners video here.

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