Hiker killed was beloved Waianae teacher - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hiker killed was beloved Waianae teacher

Michael Anderson Michael Anderson
Calvin Endo Calvin Endo

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

WAIANAE (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Waianae High School community is grieving after a popular teacher dies in a hiking accident near Makaha.

Three years ago, a phone call from an organization called Teach-For-America changed Michael Anderson's life. Then a law student at Notre Dame, they challenged him to commit two years teaching in an urban and rural public school.

He thought being a teacher would help more people than becoming a lawyer so he accepted the challenge.

"So he calls the guy back and says put me down, and three weeks later I was meeting him right there on campus and that's how we started," said Calvin Endo, a fellow employee and friend.

What started, was a friendship. The program had placed Anderson at Waianae High School where he met Endo.

"I saw this guy, I knew he wasn't a local guy so I introduced myself and that's how our relationship started," said Endo.

Endo says Anderson blossomed into a phenomenal educator.

"He personally tutored kids who were struggling, kids knew if they need help, go see Mr. Anderson," said Endo.

The last person to see Anderson was a friend who had gone hiking with him on Friday near the Makaha Valley Condominiums. The weather turned bad and Anderson slipped and fell.

Rescue crews searched until 10 p.m. that night. They had to suspend their efforts until the next morning.

Saturday morning, they found Anderson's body. He had fallen nearly 200 feet from a rocky ledge high above Makaha Valley.

"It's a big loss especially for students. He had such a big heart for them he would spend a lot of time with them," said Endo.

It's time spent with students far from his own home, doing something he came to love - teaching.

"He was an amazing guy all the way from the East Coast but yet touched our local kids. It's kind of amazing to me to see that happen," said Endo.

Anderson is the second Waianae High School teacher to die tragically in the past year.

43-year-old Asa Yamashita was randomly attacked and murdered while sitting on a bench at Ewa Town Center last February.

She taught English and mentored students as the literacy coordinator.

As in that case, counselors will be at the school to help students deal with their grief.

 

 

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