Brooke Gascon-Vea credits her Farrington High School Teaching As a Career advisor Marc Kawahara for inspiring her to pursue an education career.
“His class and the hands-on teaching experience of the TAAC program is what inspired me to become a teacher,” Brooke said. “Mr. Kawahara was a great teacher and mentor who cares a lot about his students and their success.”
Even after she left Farrington, Mr. Kawahara continued to encourage her. “He was always willing to give advice and always there when I needed it. He’s a great role model for the teacher I wanted to become.”
Brooke confesses that as an 11th grader, her initial motivation for joining the teaching academy was the idea that she could spend more time off-campus.
But she soon realized she actually enjoyed teaching and that she could make a difference as a teacher in blue-collar Kalihi where she grew up. “I came from that community,” Brooke said.
Today, after 10 years as a second- and third-grade teacher at Kapalama Elementary School, Brooke is the campus curriculum coordinator.
“All the teachers I work with have so many great ideas and when we get to collaborate, we produce lessons that are so much more fun,” Brooke said about her current role. “And most importantly we create a learning experience that has a lasting impact on our students.”
]Mr. Kawahara has also chosen to remain part of the education network in the Kalihi region as principal at Kalihi Kai Elementary School.
He recalled fondly, however, the time he spent as advisor and teacher for Farrington’s teaching academy.
“We’re trying to home-grow our teachers because it is the people who are from Hawaii who can really service the students of Hawaii, and Brooke is a prime example of that,” Mr. Kawahara said.
Brooke offered this advice to high school students who may be considering a career in education. “Find a teacher-mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask them what it’s like to be a teacher.”