HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After more than 30 years at Ala Wai Elementary school, Lori Kwee has been recognized as Hawaii’s Teacher of the Year.
She’s a 4th grade teacher known for inspiring her students to chart their own course.
Kwee was given the honor in a virtual celebration on Friday, differing from the usual venue of Washington Place.
“Her positivity and forward-thinking practices have inspired other educators to seek out opportunities to engage students in relevant learning that allows them to dream big and make great things happen,” Ala Wai Elementary Principal Michelle DeBusca said.
Kwee encourages her students to use their voice to empower their beliefs in hands-on, project-based learning.
Her students worked to raise awareness around real world issues. They included topics ranging from bullying prevention to awareness on endangered species.
“Lori is an energetic and passionate educator whose innovative and engaging approach to learning motivates and inspires students and teachers,” said Superintendent Kishimoto. “Through her unique teaching methodologies, she has been able to create meaningful, rigorous and relevant learning opportunities that activate the voices of our future leaders.”
Kwee’s students also developed a “Share Aloha” brand to foster kindness throughout their entire school community.
“My deepest deepest aloha and heartfelt gratitude, from the depths of my heart,” Kwee said. “To my students, my ambassadors of aloha, your voices ring passionately true. When I ask what are you curious about, what do you want to learn about? And they shared what came from their heart.”
The prize includes a one-year lease on a new Suburu Forrester and Kwee will represent the state at the national awards in the spring.