Pearl City teacher Charlene Abe wins “Be a Hero. Be a Teacher.” contest

Sponsored by UH System and the Hawaii State Department of Education

University of Hawaii Systems and the Hawaii State Department of Education is proud to announce Charlene Abe of Pearl City High School as the winner of the “Be a Hero. Be a Teacher.” contest. The campaign recognizes a stand-out teacher who has been a hero in the eyes of students, working every day to make a difference in the lives of Hawaii’s keiki. HI Now host Jobeth Devera sat down with Nathan Murata, dean of UH Manoa’s College of Education, to find out more the winner and the importance of this campaign.

Murata says that there were many nominees for the contest, but Ms. Abe’s story exemplified the “Be a Hero. Be a Teacher.” campaign.

Danielle Himalaya nominated Ms. Abe. Himalaya was a former student of Ms. Abe’s and became a teacher herself. Now, she is an administrator with the Department of Education. “She became the mentor and teacher I needed to put me back on track,” Himalaya wrote. “Her tell it like it is attitude mixed with tough love helped me to realize that I have control over me and my situation, and I don’t have control over the others and their actions.”

About Be a Hero. Be a Teacher.
A simple message that the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) wants heard across the state in an effort to address Hawaii’s teacher shortage. UH and HIDOE are committing about $100,000 for a television and digital advertising campaign to promote that message.

“Be a hero. Be a teacher.” is a media campaign designed to inspire high school and college students and working professionals to consider a career in education by highlighting the benefits and rewards of being a teacher. Consisting of a 30 second Public Service Announcement version, a two-and-a-half minute slam poetry video—written and performed by a teacher—and a website, the campaign is among a number of steps being taken by UH and HIDOE to address the state’s teacher shortage. The shortage has grown from 300-plus vacancies statewide in 2013, to more than 550 in fall 2018.

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