Surrounded by lakes and reservoirs, the Wahiawā community is home to agricultural fields, military bases, and an ʻŌlelo Media Service Center currently helmed by one of the company’s newest Media Services Managers: Marge Streb. We sat down with Marge to get a taste of her experiences so far.
Q: What were you doing before ʻŌlelo and how did you end up working for the company?
A: It’s kind of a funny story- I had been working in New York City as a freelance production assistant and editor when I found out two things: My brother was going to be stationed at Schofield Barracks and the grace period on my student loan repayments were ending. I decided to move back to North Carolina and wait tables during the summer so that I could travel in the winter. After visiting the island of Oʻahu one winter and returning to North Carolina I was checking craigslist for jobs in the film and television industry and decided to check out the options on Oʻahu. I saw a job posting for a Media Services Associate (MSA) position at the Wahiawā Media Service Center (MSC) and was familiar with the area because my brother lived up the street from Leilehua High School. I vividly remember telling my coworkers in NC about it and all of their encouragement to apply. As fate would have it, I ended up moving to Oʻahu in the Fall and a similar position ended up opening at the Māpunapuna MSC. Multiple bus rides, mini studios, and quality checks later- I found my way to the Wahiawā MSC as the manager!
Q: How did it feel on your first day as the Wahiawā manager?
A: My first day as manager felt exciting, bittersweet, and new. I remember being excited about the new challenges ahead of me, but also missing seeing all of the faces at Māpunapuna. My first day I was focused on learning how the Wahiawā MSC handled their daily duties such as accepting programming submissions, renting out equipment, training classes, etc. It just so happened to be a Monday and the activity in the center itself was relatively slow, however getting introduced to the teachers around campus as Manager Marge was pretty cool.
Q: How is Wahiawā MSC different from Māpunapuna MSC?
A: One thing I had to learn quickly is that we aren’t at Māpunapuna anymore! Working at an outlying center is different in that you are on you are on your own. I remember calling our IT department twice within my first hour as Manager because I didn’t realize that the docking station on my laptop had a power button and couldn’t get my computer working. Trouble shooting over the phone, running out of water and having to pick it up at Māpunapuna, driving in my work orders to engineering- it is all out of my normal routine. One thing that has been a huge adjustment for me is being on a school campus. During my first week, I got stuck in the hallways with the students twice and I remember being amazed that they can use their phones! Not to date myself, but back when I was in school- that wouldn’t fly. I have thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the Leilehua campus. Whether that be an evening walk around campus or visiting Bingo, the Mighty Mule- or even stepping outside the office and catching a rainbow- I am learning to appreciate the beauty of Wahiawā.
Q: What is it like working with staff under you now?
A: I have really enjoyed getting to know Brandyn Proctor and Filipo Tuisano in a different capacity. One thing is for sure, I would not have made the transition without their help. I am so happy to be part of a team that is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. I enjoy learning more about them and their past and seeing how it influences their work today.
Q: Who are some of the interesting clients/teachers/students you’ve met so far?
A: One afternoon, I had decided to take a walk around campus and as I was walking a man approached me on a golf cart and asked if I was lost. Next thing I know I am riding in the golf cart with the Athletics Director learning about the haunted past of Leilehua High School. I even got to watch some ghost videos. Needless to say I haven’t closed by myself since. Getting to know the students, especially the seniors, has been fun for me. I love talking to them about college and trying to think of advice I wish I had received at their age.
Q: Tell us about your experiences managing the various community event shoots?
A: I remember after my first shoot with the Wahiawā team feeling so extremely proud of our student volunteers. Some of our most dedicated after school students woke up early and spent their Friday morning filming the Mililani Ike May Day performance. It was so cool to see them take charge and handle the aspects of production with ease. It was also a huge help having Deena Cabralda, the school’s media teacher, out there with us! I remember being astonished at the beauty of the Mililani Ike Elementary school campus and it’s sweeping views of the ocean and mountains. The students and I were able to connect on a different level and I really enjoyed capturing the May Day performance. We also went live at the end of May to broadcast the Leilehua graduation with an all student crew. I was amazed at the professionalism and dedication of the students. They came out the week prior to graduation to practice, helped with all aspects of production, and even recruited some friends to help. Seeing the amount of preparation Brandyn and Filipo put in to ensure that the students had a smooth day made me proud to be their manager. Weeks later and we are still hearing stories of family members who were able to watch their children graduate from all over the world, thanks to ʻŌlelo and our student crew.
Q: What are you overall goals for the media center?
A: My hope is to empower Wahiawā and the surrounding communities to use media to share their stories in order to create change. If there is anything I’ve learned from my first few months here it would be that the people of Wahiawā are extremely involved and passionate about their community. I would like to try and unite the many local nonprofits and show them how media can help enhance their organization and reach. I am also hoping to engage with clients via social media and broaden the reach of our center. I love having the students here and I hope I can not only continue to inspire them to create and submit to our channels, but also see the importance of PEG access and free speech.
If you happen to find yourself on the campus of Leileihua High School, please feel free to visit the Wahiawā Media Service Center. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. You can call them at (808) 621-9727 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.