Saluting Wahiawa Middle Teachers

Pamela Young
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Wednesday - March 07, 2007
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Aloha Pamela,

I would like to give a huge round of APPLAUSE to some of the teachers at Wahiawa Middle School.

I am a parent of a WMS student. I also happen to be an elementary school teacher with the DOE in another district for the past 15 years, and my husband is a teacher at a different school in the DOE.

At a time when many teachers are burned out, stressed, discouraged and dismayed at the constant number of demands continually placed on them, I am always amazed when my son comes home with interesting stories of all the great things happening at his school.

In his sixth grade social studies class taught by Mrs. Jodi Conjugacion, my son said he was studying China. His teacher announced she was going to leave class for a minute to get a special guest speaker and when she returned, she was dressed in full costume as “General We Wo Ha” (“We Work Hard”)! She had drawn a moustache on her face, put her hair in a bun, hat on her head, and was dressed in boots and full warrior armor, complete with a plastic sword! The class of 25-30 sixth-graders, needless to say, was delighted! The “General” made the class work very hard as they had to construct sections of the Great Wall of China using newspaper and duct tape. Very, very fun for them! And how wonderful and brave of their teacher to be so creative and energetic.

Did I mention she is also pregnant and has a toddler at home? This same teacher also popped popcorn for her students and they had to, in groups, eat it using only chopsticks. My son, who kept refusing to try chopsticks at home, even though he is half-Japanese, finally tried eating with chopsticks in social studies class!

Is it any wonder the kids love going to school?

There is also the terrific Karen Paty, who runs the leadership classes, which encourage team building and working together with a combination of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. These students are also in charge of planning and carrying out school activities, updating school bulletin boards and raising and taking down the flag every day. My son loves this class!

In addition, Henry Kitagawa runs an excellent science class with very high expectations of all his students, James Mosher has creative and interesting projects for his students in art, Mrs. T. Moananu works tirelessly with her students in math, and Linda Seals is always enthusiastic about her students’ writing assignments in language arts.

Finally, Mr. James Chow is a science teacher who runs an amazing hatchery program. He raises (I think) bass which, once grown, are released into Lake Wilson to help replenish the stock of fish in the reservoir. How cool is that?

I think these teachers (and I’m sure many more who are equally as wonderful) deserve, at the very least, recognition for what they do every day to make learning a very enjoyable experience for our children. Morale is often low in schools where more and more is put upon the teachers with less and less time in which to do it.

Thank you to the teachers there for all that they do!

Donna Kusaka


Dear Donna,

Wahiawa Middle School principal Carol Price shared your letter with the entire faculty. “A school like ours is sorely in need of that kind of encouragement,” she says. “We know we’re working hard, especially to get out of our restructuring status and make this a wonderful place. We have teachers who have been here for a long time. They come and they stay. To receive this kind of recognition from our most important clients, our students and parents, is a great boost to morale.”

(If you know someone who deserves some Applause, send your letters to Pamela Young, MidWeek Applause, KITV, 801 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96813 or e-mail Include your name, phone number and, if possible, the phone number of your “applaudee” so we can contact him or her.)

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