Position: Student Activities Coordinator, Yearbook Advisor, and Green Initiatives Mentor (Grades 7-8) School: Ewa Makai Middle School
School District: Leeward District
City, State: Ewa Beach , Hawaii
About the Nominee: Vanessa Ching was nominated by a former student, Daylin Kuboyama.
Vanessa Ching is one of the most dedicated and diligent teachers one could ever encounter; she has assumed countless roles over the years, yet has the outstanding ability to devote herself to serving her students. Over the course of six years, many students have flourished under Mrs. Ching’s guidance, including her nominator and former student, Daylin Kuboyama. Mrs. Ching has made a tremendous impact on various educational and personal matters in their lives and has led many students to reach their fullest potential as leaders, community members and individuals. Daylin was fortunate to get to know her on a personal level and experience her undeniably passionate teaching methods when she served as Mrs. Ching's Student Body Vice-President (2011-12), Yearbook Editor (2011-12), Green Initiative Club member (2011-12), and currently as her teacher assistant (2012-16).
In her leadership program, Mrs. Ching works closely with students to develop their individuality and leadership qualities. With her counsel, she inspires each student to embrace their uniqueness; for example, Daylin was a shy and steadfast student who developed confidence over time under Mrs. Ching’s guidance. She was able to develop spiritually and intellectually, and now uses her skills to influence others to make positive changes in their lives and community. Mrs. Ching had unwavering faith in Daylin, and soon after entering the leadership program, Daylin began emceeing assemblies, giving campus tours to senators and presenting Ewa Makai’s new school building to community members. Mrs. Ching's support and encouragement inspired Daylin to run and serve as Ewa Makai’s Student Body Vice President in the eighth grade, where she was finally given the opportunity to represent her fellow classmates.
Mrs. Ching furthers her involvement with the student body by mentoring students to promote environmental stewardship. She also aids in developing a greener community through the school’s green initiatives; she oversees many sustainability projects such as vermicomposting, gardening, school-wide recycling and informational presentations about projects to community members. Mrs. Ching strongly advocates for a greener future where members of society learn to appreciate nature and give back. She inspires students to teach others about the importance of cultivating a green conscience, giving them the opportunity to gain applicable knowledge that will go beyond the garden and maintain its relevance in everyday life. Her knowledge and enthusiasm inspires students long after they leave Ewa Makai and influenced Daylin to implement green initiatives at James Campbell High School, where she was able to share her knowledge and continue to practice lifestyle changes that promote a more sustainable future. Mrs. Ching's insightful advice, meticulous training and rigorous program helped Daylin present Ewa Makai green initiatives to international engineers and business people at the Build and Buy Green Conference, as well as present student work to Paul Chapman, a Inverness Associates author. These circumstances transcended into Daylin's participation in Hawaii’s Secondary Student Conference, where she helped draft a resolution promoting a paperless curriculum and testified in front of politicians. Mrs. Ching envisioned Daylin’s potential as a young, talented leader, and she dedicated her time and effort to ensure that Daylin's talents were properly developed.
Every year, Mrs. Ching is committed to advocating limitless opportunities for her students. The students’ characters shine brightly within these opportunities. Furthermore, she endlessly serves her students on a much more personal level. Two years ago, Daylin was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes and struggled to accept the fact that she had a chronic disease. Mrs. Ching helped Daylin come to the realization that this disease would not dictate the course of her life. She maintained her faith that Daylin would continue to strive towards their aspirations, even in the face of adversity. Together, they planned healthier eating habits and fitness plans, prompting Mrs. Ching to change her diet to help Daylin adjust to her new lifestyle. She realized that Mrs. Ching doesn’t only love to intellectually foster her students, but that she also appreciates the relationships formed with each of her students because of her innate motherly nature. She strategically mentors her students’ strengths while building interpersonal skills that others would fail to recognize.
Mrs. Ching is the epitome of a LifeChanger; with her dedication, knowledge, and insight, she will inspire her colleagues to truly appreciate their roles as educators, and be active participants in their students’ lives to create strong-minded, diligent, and empathetic members of society.