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. All of that was really positive at such a young age.

Former student of Mr. Colin More

Honolulu Waldorf School

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. All of that was really positive at such a young age.

Former student of Mr. Colin More

Honolulu Waldorf School

Stories About Hawaii Educators

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

Sarah Kern

Sarah Kern

Being able to build relationships with your students, getting to know your students and being able to relate to them –I think that's probably one of the most important things is making that connection with them.

7th Grade Teacher

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

Alexandra Obra

Alexandra Obra

Dr. Mokuau’s work advocating for Native Hawaiians motivates me to be an advocate as well. I try to incorporate the culture into the things we do here.

Former student of Dr. Noreen Mokuau

UH Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work

Kurt Dela Cruz

Kurt Dela Cruz

She challenged her students to reach a higher standard, and she did so by showing us the care and love she had for us. I needed that kind of challenge to push me.

Former student of Carolyn Irvine

Ka‘ū High School

Brooke Gascon-Vea

Brooke Gascon-Vea

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.

Former student of Mr. Marc Kawahara

Farrington High 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

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

I first met Ms. Murayama in my 11th grade English class. She pushed me to challenge myself and take an advanced English course my senior year 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

I had a great teacher who inspired me and so I knew what I was going to pursue. It’s the way that she talked to us. She 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

Brooke Gascon-Vea

Brooke Gascon-Vea

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.

Former student of Mr. Marc Kawahara

Farrington High School

#MyAwesomeTeacher

SUBMIT YOUR STORY

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

HEA wants to showcase testimonials about amazing teachers to highlight the importance of our local educators. These stories will be featured throughout our website, newsletter and social media in 2021 as part of HEA’s 100th anniversary celebration.

SUBMIT YOUR STORY

Community Testimonials

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

"Mr. Burton Tomita at St. Louis School first introduced me to the fundamentals of computer science, sparking my passion and leading me to pursue my current career."

Les Kwock

In honor of Mr. Burton Tomita

St. Louis School

"Mrs. Kono at Aina Haina Elementary was always encouraging and challenged me to think deeper—she expected a lot from me, even when no one else did."

Stephanie (Sweitzer) Kendrick

In honor of Mrs. Kono

Aina Haina Elementary

"Many students had never heard jazz or had the opportunity to play an instrument, but Mr. Billie Brooks brought music and music appreciation to Kohala High & Elementary School."

Sharon Sakai

In honor of Billie Brooks

Kohala High & Elementary School

"Mr. Matsumoto was not only a great band teacher at Kaimuki Middle School, he instilled in me values around leadership, being part of a team and striving to be your best."

Janis Kushimi

In honor of Clarence Matsumoto

Kaimuki Middle School