The results of the 2022 Edition of the Maunakea Coin Contest are in!

The coin contest was open to all Big Island students in grades K to 12, including homeschooled children. Students were asked to make a drawing for a design that can go on a coin. The drawing had to represent Maunakea and include different aspects of this majestic mountain: its environment, astronomy, and the culture.

Over 265 entries were received and divided into grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 categories. Four judges selected a First, Second, and Third place winner for the grades K-4 and 5-8 categories. They chose a First and Second place winner for the grades 9-12 category due to the small number of entries. The judges used their areas of expertise to make their selection. Leilehua Yuen, a cultural practitioner (Kumu), and Namelemanukukalaao Kapono, an undergraduate of UH Hilo KH`UOK and an employee of `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai`i, are experts in the Hawaiian and local culture. Dr. Nadine Manset, a resident astronomer at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and chair of MKAOC, and Dr. Kumiko Usuda-Sato, a public outreach specialist at Subaru Telescope, are astronomers. There were so many creative designs that four Special mentions were also awarded!

The eight category winners' designs were sent to our Grand Judge, Alyssa Clark, artist and observatory night attendant at Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai`i. The winner is Luche Angeline Mardie Asuncion Ganot, who is in 11th grade at Pahoa High and Intermediate School.


The winning designs are the following:

The following comments on coin designs are a compilation of all of the judges’ submitted comments.

Judges’ comments for Tallen Kiriu:
Interesting representation of fauna and flora which beautifully pairs Maunakea’s native forests and their birds. Moreover, this design shows each bird in its preferred habitat! The "2022" constellation looks cute.

Judges’ comments for Ella Haruko Tanimoto:
By using stars, professional and amateur telescopes, Hawaiian forest, and architecture, the design is an interesting combination of science, culture, and Hawai`i.

Judges’ comments for Emma Child:
The design is simple and airy. Love to see my favorite constellations with your original style. Leilehua Yuen said: “In my own art, I depict Aldebaran as Makali`i with the V of Taurus as the sail of his wa`a.”


Judges’ comments for Ros Haleyah Mari A. Ganot:
Each design is neat, clean, impactful, and has graphically bold lines, yet, those designs are incorporated into a cohesive whole. Because of that, the design stands out in our eyes.

Judges’ comments for Jonalyn Pira:
Each design is simple and clear, which makes the designs stand out. The composition of each design draws our eyes and continually moves around the drawing. Each design also represents ancient and modern cultures and science well.

Judges’ comments for Abigail Rae Adams:
The design works well for rendering on a coin. Impressive way of using simple and clean graphic lines for each design. Especially Maunakea, coconut, and koki`o.


Judges’ comments for Luche Angeline Mardie Asuncion Ganot:
Appealing composition that beautifully ties each element, the meaning of the design fits into both modern and traditional science. The bold graphic also helps this design pop out.

Judges’ comments for Marisol Queja:
By including a hand and showing how to measure distance using a hand, the design expresses the connections between navigational astronomy and astronomical exploration. The design is simple and well-drawn.


Judges’ comments for Victoria Éowyn Smith:
Flying pueo, stars, moon, mountain, and silver sword are well-drawn and cute. You are the youngest contestant, and we love to see that you are passionate about art, science, and culture!

Judges’ comments for Michael Barich:
This is the first time we have seen such a strong connection to the stories of the ocean depicted. The underwater volcano is interesting and reminds us that when we look at the beautiful sky, we feel how small we are.

Judges’ comments for Raylee A. K. Mateo:
This is an outstanding work with gorgeous design that marries cultural traditions with modern science such as; hula, observatories on Maunakea. Unfortunately, this design is difficult to render on a coin and we hope the artist takes this and expands it into a large piece.

Judges’ comments for Shanea DeSilva-Soares:
This incredibly talented design representing Pu`u `O`o is simple and well-balanced. Pu`u `O`o takes it in a different direction from Maunakea, but we would love to see the design on a mural.


Grand Judge’s comments for Luche Angeline Mardie Asuncion Ganot:
This image shows strong illustrative technique. The blocks of black are evenly balanced out with negative space and clean detail; therefore, it is easily readable from far away.

Grand Judge’s comments for Ros Haleyah Mari A. Ganot:
This image is also very strong in its technique. The composition is well balanced and it addresses many of the key resources of Maunakea and Hawai`i Island: Astronomy, Culture, and Wildlife.

Grand Judge’s comments for Ella Haruko Tanimoto:
The image shows the artist’s knowledge of the constellations and includes a hale similar to the one that was across the street from the VIS for a couple of years. I personally enjoy the little stargazer showing wonder at the night sky.


The awards ceremony was held at AstroDay in Hilo, on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Go to the 2022 Announcement Page

Mauna Kea Coin Contest 2021 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 © 2021 Mauna Kea Coin Contest Committee. All rights reserved.