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Stories About Hawaii Educators

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

Pascal “Kawehi” Cabuzel

Pascal “Kawehi” Cabuzel

I'm very grateful for this scholarship knowing that others are very deserving too. I hope to fulfill that role to give back to Hawaii in some way.

2021-22 Graduating High School Seniors Scholarship Recipient

Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Denise K. Karratti

Denise K. Karratti

The Japanese term kaizen means ‘continuous improvement’ and that discipline was ingrained in me from a young age.

2021-22 In-Service Public School Educator Scholarship Recipient

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

Jeff Stallman

Jeff Stallman

I only took one class from Jonathan (JP) Price at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, but it sticks with me to this day.

Jonathan (JP) Price

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Stephen Ching

Stephen Ching

Mrs. Dorothy Ono was quiet and serious, but her classroom was always open to us before and after school to just hang out.

Mrs. Dorothy Ono

Kaimuki High School

Coleby Kim

Coleby Kim

I wish Mr. Doike could teach me every day! He made a difference in my life because he was so nice and taught me so many things.

Joseph Doike-Foreman

Pearl Ridge Elementary 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

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

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

Sarah Kern

Sarah Kern

Getting to know your students and being able to relate to them –I think that's probably one of the most important things.

7th Grade Teacher

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

U.S. Representative Ed Case

U.S. Representative Ed Case

He taught me to think critically, the ability to step back and to see what the world is really all about.

Former student of Paul Knauff

Hawaii Preparatory Academy

#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.

"Miss Mae Tsugawa at Kalakaua Middle School inspired thoughtful conversations and inquiring debates with topics relevant to real life in her class. Because of her, I became a Social Studies educator too."

Jan Javinar

In honor of Mae Tsugawa

Kalakaua Middle School

"In college, I ran into William Hancock, who was my advisor at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy. He told me, “Security about the future is only in your mind.” At a time when I was worried about my future, this was an epiphany."

Tom Sofos

In honor of William Hancock

Hawaii Preparatory Academy

"I was a troublemaker in school, but Mr. Hena from Keolu Elementary School showed me the meaning of patience. He took the time and little moments to correct me, always keeping me on the right path. I could tell that he really cared about my future and wanted me to grow to be a great individual."

Jesse Rife

In honor of Mr. Hena

Keolu Elementary School

"Mr. Dewey Gottlieb was my class advisor at Pearl City High and continued to guide me later in life. When I became a math teacher, he taught me to value the relationships with my students and make math relatable."

Daphne Okunaga

In honor of Dewey Gottlieb

Pearl City High School