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Kaua‘i schools welcome 11 new teachers from the Philippines

PUHI — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Principal Jean Morris is ready for Monday when nearly 9,000 students return to school.

“We’re fully staffed,” said Morris on Saturday when she was joined by Vice Principal Merrill Carvalho in welcoming five of the 11 teachers who arrived from the Philippines to teach various subjects at the CKMS, Waimea Canyon Middle School and Waimea High School.

Waimea High School Principal Mahina Anguay was worried her teacher, Cherry Lyn Valera, would not show up for the special welcoming luncheon that organizers described as a “meet and greet.”

Her fears were erased when Valera joined the other teachers at Kaua‘i Philippines Cultural Center on Saturday where the new teachers were welcomed by dignitaries, including Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Daniel Hamada, Senate President Ron Kouchi, Kaua‘i County Managing Director Michael Dahilig, and several members of the Kaua‘i County Council.

“They are all not here,” said Randy Francisco of the organizing committee. “One is still on a flight coming from the Philippines. I just hope she gets here because school starts, Monday.”

The new teachers include Jeanelle Avila, Alvin Monealto, Jennicah Cyril Reyel, Spencer Margaret Saragena, Patricia Paulan Valdez, Shannel Monel, Orvile Mantua, Rowella Angeles, Julius Romero, Gretchen Cacao and Valera.

Sonia Topenio of the KPCC said the welcoming event started when she received a text from a Philippines senator informing her that 81 teachers would be arriving in Hawai‘i to teach. Of the 81 teachers, 11 would be arriving on Kaua‘i. Topenio added that competition for the 81 positions was tough with more than a thousand applicants registering.

“I got to meet five of them when they got here,” Topenio said. “We went to Costco for pizza and hot dogs.”

In addition to the Saturday lunch, representatives of the Kaua‘i Filipino community arranged for a food package for each of the teachers, an assortment of gently-used home furnishings, donated toiletries and other supplies needed to stock a home.

“Even the lunch, today,” said Cyndi Ayonon of the Kaua‘i Filipino Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone over-cooked. The leftovers all leave with the new teachers.”

The meet and greet organizing committee included Topenio, Francisco, Ayonon, Charmaine Bulosan of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council, Evelyn Basnillo, Eve Fortune, and Virgie Cruzada of the Kaua‘i Visayan Club, Liza Trinidad and Marynel Valenzuela.

Students in the Department of Education public schools report to class starting Monday.
Source: The Garden Island

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