The First Place winner, who has her design on this year’s coin, was chosen by our Grand Judge who said, “To me, the resemblance of the moon on the horizon to our planet earth beautifully instills this idea that when we exploring space and understanding more of the universe, we are in reality learning more about ourselves.

THE WINNER IS Joanna Camille Afaga, a senior at Kea'au High School!


This coin contest was open to all students of the Big Island. We received almost 500 entries from students who are in public schools, charter schools, private schools, or homeschooled. Students were asked to make a drawing that represents Maunakea and includes different aspects of this majestic mountain: its environment, astronomy, the culture, the fauna, and the flora. We want students to express their aloha and respect for Maunakea, and to celebrate all aspects of this special mountain.

All entries were divided into 3 grades categories and were judged by Kimo Pihana and Koa Rice, native Hawaiian culture practitioners, and by Nadine Mansetf, for the astronomical side of the contest. 

For each grade category, we have a first place, second place, and third place winner. Out of those 9 winners, the top 3 overall winners were selected by our Grand Judge Professor Heather Kaluna from the Physics and Astronomy department of UH Hilo. The grand winner’s coin design is the one used to make thousands of coins, some of which were distributed freely at AstroDay on May 4th.

The Overall Top 3 Winners are:


The nine category winners are:





 Ten Special Mentions were also awarded this year:





The Overall top 3 winners received KTA Super Stores Merchandise Certificates, a membership to the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, a membership to the Galaxy Garden, a copy of the Hawaiian Starlight DVD, a Galileoscope, and more!

The Maunakea Observatories and other partners including PISCES and the Visitor Information Station contributed books, toys, pens, magnets, stickers, bookmarks, educational material, images, pins, and other prizes.


Mauna Kea Coin Contest 2019 is sponsored by Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee (MKAOC) a.k.a. Mauna Kea Observatories Outreach Committee (MKOOC), KTA Super Stores, `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i, Onizuka Space Center, & Galaxy Garden/Paleaku Gardens Peace Sanctuary.

Copyright © 2019 Mauna Kea Coin Contest Committee. All rights reserved.