Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee

Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee

A Hawaii Island boy away from home for the first time, young John wanted to explore the city. However, as a boarder, he was expected to do yard work under Mr. Oshita’s stern supervision.

Hideo Oshita

Hawaiian Mission Academy

Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee

Former Hawaii Gov. John Waihee

A Hawaii Island boy away from home for the first time, young John wanted to explore the city. However, as a boarder, he was expected to do yard work under Mr. Oshita’s stern supervision.

Hideo Oshita

Hawaiian Mission Academy

Stories About Hawaii Educators

Watch and read stories about the life-changing impact of local teachers and professors.

Augie Tulba

Augie Tulba

Mrs. Murakami was the first teacher who, when I looked at her, I knew she cared about me.

Former student of Millie Murakami

Dole Middle School

Ben Cayetano

Ben Cayetano

We could tell Mr. Higa was devoted to his work. His character just came through and that’s why the students really liked him. He had the ability to inspire his students to do their best.

Former student of Howard Higa

Kalakaua Intermediate School

Holden Suzuki

Holden Suzuki

I know for a fact that teachers are some of the hardest-working people on the planet and they really make an effort to connect with you.

8th Grade Student

Maui Waena Intermediate School

JoAnn Oshiro

JoAnn Oshiro

I just enjoy making connection with students. I think that was the same with Mr. Ginoza and maybe he modeled that for me in my career.

Former student of Mr. Edwin Ginoza

Maui High School

Tord “Harald” Ivarsson

Tord “Harald” Ivarsson

I had a vision of what a teacher can create in the classroom. Having children explore skills within themselves, I think that’s inspiring.

2021 Hiroshi & Barbara Kim Yamashita HEA Scholarship Recipient

Kapiolani Community College

Yunji de Nies

Yunji de Nies

I was an outspoken, loud and energetic child. And rather than quash that … he really cultivated it and he encouraged my interest in theater and in speech, and in being on stage.

Former student of Mr. Colin More

Honolulu Waldorf School

Natanya Friedheim

Natanya Friedheim

Ms. Alexandra (Armstrong) Taylor made the classroom into an inviting space for learning. You just wanted to be there.

Former student of Ms. Alexandra (Armstrong) Taylor

Kailua Intermediate School

Nicole Tam

Nicole Tam

Ms. Murayama pushed me to challenge myself and take an advanced English course even though it was out of my comfort zone because English is my second language.

Former Student of Shareen Murayama

Kaiser High School

Jessica Pagtulingan

Jessica Pagtulingan

Mrs. Lori Fujimoto was able to see me and my classmates for who we were, and she encouraged each and every one of us to be better.

Former student of Mrs. Lori Fujimoto

Kapalama Elementary School

Kevin Matsunaga

Kevin Matsunaga

It can’t just be about the deadline. It can’t just be about the letter grade. I’m talking about investing in students.

Digital Media Teacher

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

#MyAwesomeTeacher

Our teachers are great sources of encouragement, inspiration, and positive life transformations. Many of us have had a teacher who made a major impact on our lives or helped us to simply do better.

Here, HEA showcases testimonials about amazing teachers to highlight the importance of our local educators. These stories were collected and featured throughout our website, newsletter, and social media in 2021 as part of our 100th anniversary celebration.

Community Testimonials

We are honored to share these memories from our community about the impact of Hawaii educators on their students’ lives.

"She has been a model student who is committed to excellence in everything she participates in."

Rhynne T. Lee

2021-22 Graduating High School Scholarship Recipient

Moanalua High School

"I put my doctorate on the back burner for decades, but Dr. Beth Pateman at UH Manoa’s College of Education encouraged me to apply for the doctoral program. Thank you for your confidence in me and nudging me toward this life-changing experience!"

Lynn Hammonds

In honor of Dr. Beth Pateman

University of Manoa, College of Education

"Mrs. Kathy Lum was my French teacher at Highlands Intermediate School. Her classroom was a joyful place in an otherwise difficult world. What a wonderful world I discovered, thanks to her!"

Jonathan Gillentine

In honor of Kathy Lum

Highlands Intermediate School

"Ms. Wilene Lum at Mililani Mauka Elementary was the first teacher to challenge me, recognizing my storytelling talents. At 6, I hated her for it, but I now realize how much I owe her and carry her lessons with me."

Taryn Pascua

In honor of Wilene Lum

Mililani Mauka Elementary School