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Hawaii Catholic Schools Teacher of the Year Winner Announced

May 23, 2022

Congratulations Monica "Rica" Velasco of St. Joseph Parish School, Waipahu! She has been named as this year's Hawaii Catholic Schools Teacher of the Year.  The Golden Pine"apple" winner was announced this past Thursday at the annual Hawaii Catholic Schools Recognition Luncheon sponsored by FACTS, HiEmployment, and Renaissance. This year's winner will receive $1,000 from Chaminade University and John C. and Mary Lou Brogan, $1,000 in gas cards from Par Hawaii's Hele Gas, and $1,500 for Staff Development to St. Joseph Parish School from Augustine Educational Foundation.

The eligibility criteria for the Hawaii Catholic Schools Teacher of the Year award is that the nominated individual must be a full time teacher or specialist (eg. coach, counselor, librarian) in a Catholic School in the state of Hawaii. 

Dr. Dale Fryxell shared that Rica was selected the winner because, "She is the embodiment of a leader who is very much willing to serve.  Living out the school's mission is the central point and focus of all the work Rica does as a counselor at the school.  Rica has spearheaded the implementation of the SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) program at the school and has also focused on bullying prevention. In these efforts she has facilitated discussions with faculty and staff, students and parents, to deepen their understanding of the forms of bullying and how to respond to solving the problem in the school and at home.  Rica has been a key player in improving communication and relationship building skills related to the spiritual development of the administration, faculty, staff, students, parents, and even the larger community in Waipahu."

Pictured above from left to right:  Dr. Llewellyn Young, Superintendent for Hawaii Catholic Schools, Par Hawaii's Vice President of Business Development Keith Yoshida, Awardee Rica Velasco, and Dr. Dale Fryxell, Dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Science at Chaminade who heads the selection committee for the Teacher of the Year Award.