Top teachers at Hanalei, Kilauea honored

HANALEI — The Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay recently paid tribute to two North Shore teachers for their impact on Kauai’s youth.

“Our educators make selfless sacrifices to help our young people succeed,” said Marion Paul, the club’s vocational services chair. “We all know the long hours they put in, the evenings and weekends grading papers, coaching teams, running science fairs and rocketry clubs and technology labs and ‘Lion King’ and on and on. They bring out the best in us, help us celebrate our differences and feel compassion for those less fortunate.”

The club put the spotlight on teachers “who bring honor, commitment, integrity and service above self to their job every day. They teach the values we seek. They embody what is good, what makes us proud, what America really is all about,” she said.

The teachers were nominated by their peers. They chose Kilauea School fifth-grade teacher Farrah Krovoza and Hanalei School first-grade teacher Wendy Paik.

Krovoza was praised for having a “cutting edge classroom” and leading the production of “Lion King.”

“Farrah put on an amazing play for the school and the community,” Paul said. “It allowed students who normally do not shine to really shine. It made tears come to my eyes.”

One of the nominations said this: “Farrah inspires me to be a better teacher every day. I just try to keep up with her.”

Paik was praised for consistently finding innovative ways to make learning more engaging for her students.

She was nominated not only for her teaching skills, but for that famous “service above self” that is treasured, said Paul.

“Wendy is incredibly helpful to other teachers. She is always willing to share what she has and help out in any way that she can,” Paul said.

“Wendy is the trusted bench strength of our school,” said one nomination form.

“Wendy is an amazing teacher and a beautiful person,” another nominator said. “She demonstrates on a daily basis what it means to teach from the heart. She cares so much for her students and her peers.”

Both teachers received $250.

Since it began, Rotary has been honoring people’s vocations — people in professions that are really making an impact, said Paul.

“We all know Rotary is about all of us helping our community and service above self. But today Rotary takes a time out from our own work — stops everything — to honor some exceptional heroes that also do invaluable and priceless work for our community every day,” Paul said. “In fact, they work much harder at it than we do.”

John Oszust, club president, said the impact of a good teacher goes beyond the classroom.

“It is bigger because we depend on educators to help our young people make sense of the rapidly changing global world around them. No small task,” he said.

“Think about that for a minute. I believe that we all rest — society rests — on the solid knowledge and problem-solving skills that we learn in school — from our teachers, our principals, our librarians and the dedicated school staff,” he said. “Talk about super heroes!”

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