It's always validating to see our public school students recognized for their outstanding achievements on a national scale, and to see our school leaders praised for the impactful work they do on behalf of their students and communities.
The U.S. Department of Education recently named five HIDOE student semifinalists representing the state of Hawai‘i for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars Program — one of the nation's highest honors for high school students!
Congratulations to the following students and their schools and families:
- Rovialyn Arciaga, Waipahu High
- Audrey Dagdagan, Waipahu High
- Sean Michael Valencia Monte, Waipahu High
- Vaeanui Peck, Kahuku High & Intermediate
- Rachel Tao, Waiākea High
The Presidential Scholars program recognizes and honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Last year, Kealakehe High School senior Kea Clebsch was named a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Kea was one of six Hawai‘i semifinalists last year and the only semifinalist enrolled in a Hawai‘i public school.
Locally, distinguished school leaders were honored at two awards events. At the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation annual dinner on Thursday Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary Principal Sharon Beck
was named the winner of the 2023 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence in School Leadership Award
. She was awarded $25,000 – a $10,000 personal cash award and $15,000 toward a school project of her choice. Principal Beck plans to use the school award money for wireless devices that would provide students with access to learning in remote areas that may not have wifi access on Hawai‘i Island. Two semi-finalists were also recognized — Kapolei High Principal Wesley Shinkawa
and Kōloa Elementary Principal Leila Maeda-Kobayashi
– along with finalists
representing each of the 15 complex areas.
And on Sunday Fern Elementary School Principal Glen Miyasato
was named the state’s 2023 National Distinguished Principal
by the Hawai‘i Elementary and Middle School Administrators Association. This National Association of Elementary School Principals award annually recognizes elementary and middle school principals from across the country who set high standards for instruction, student achievement and school culture. Also recognized was Kawānanakoa Middle School Vice Principal Bebi Davis
, who was named the 2023 Assistant Principal of the Year
by the Hawai‘i Association of Secondary School Administrators from among six finalists. She was also one of three national finalists for the 2023 National Assistant Principal of the Year.
Taking time to celebrate dedicated school leaders like these helps honor their leadership and the work of their school teams. I extend my deepest appreciation and congratulations to all of the honorees.