WAIMEA — Mahina Anguay, principal of Waimea High School, has been named a finalist for the 2016 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.
“I was very honored,” said Anguay, who has been Waimea High School principal for two and a half years.
Although Anguay has 29 years of experience in education, the principalship at WHS is the first time she’s served as leader of a school.
The Masayuki Tokioka Excellence award, given by the Island Insurance Foundation, recognizes principals for their efforts to “provide high-quality learning opportunities for their students,” according to a release from the Island Insurance Foundation.
For Anguay, who was nominated by Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki in December, that means giving students opportunities to succeed.
“We’re the bridge to provide the students with opportunities they may not usually have,” Anguay said.
Classes like VidRoc, a video rocketry class that just recently launched a rocket equipped with a camera and GPS capabilities, and Natural Resources Pathway, a class that tends to the school garden, are examples those opportunities, she said.
“For a lot of kids, the garden is the reason why they come to school, and they enjoy school because of it,” she said.
Other Waimea High School initiatives include the Science, Technology, Resources, Engineering, Art/Humanities and Math, or STREAM program, that combines classroom lessons with post-secondary education and training.
“It guides what we do at the school, as far as people, time, resources and professional development,” she said.
WHS also makes sure students can collaborate and think critically, she said.
Twelve teachers around the state were nominated for the Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award.
The winner will be announced April 21. The winner will receive $25,000 — a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 to go toward a school project.
Waimea High School is recognized as one of 10 schools that has showed outstanding improvement in ACT composite scores and one of 10 schools with an outstanding graduation rate, according to the release.
“We have great things going on, but it’s the Westside style not to brag about it,” she said.
WHS also strives to preserve what makes Waimea the city it is, Anguay added.
“It’s about understanding that the Westside and Waimea is a special place,” she said. “It has deep roots; a lot of the students’ families have lived there for generations.”