Since 2017, Charter School Capital has held an annual essay contest celebrating exceptional teachers. We call it the Dewey Awards, in celebration of Mr. Richard Dewey – a teacher who provided exceptional mentorship to our founder and CEO Stuart Ellis. Every year, we get a brilliant selection of stories written by students from charter schools all over the nation. This year’s winners are featured here. But each of these stories is worth sharing.
Aloha my name is Teani Beverly Kieleliʻi Marquez. I was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu in a place known as Maunalua (Hawaiʻi Kai) on the eastside of Oʻahu. I am sixteen years old and a Junior at Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School.
I have attended HKM from the fourth grade. We are the first fourth-grade class at HKM. I was born prematurely with a condition called TEF. This stands for Trachea Esophageal Fistula. TEF is a condition resulting from abnormal development before birth of the tube that carries food from mouth to stomach. This condition carries many correlations such as asthma, severe acid reflux and a weakened immune system. I was always known as “the sick kid” because I was absent a lot due to my illness. From newborn to three years old. I was helped by the Easter Seals program for my developmental delays. At age three I was in a special education preschool and from kindergarten to third grade I was in the Special Education program with the Department of Education. In the fourth grade I was accepted into Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School.
My Kumu (teacher) was Consuelo Gouveia. She was my teacher from fourth through sixth grade. She set my foundation at HKM. I was a nervous, timid, fragile and introverted kid. I did not like speaking up in class and I stayed in my own quiet bubble. I observed everything around me. Kumu Consuelo helped me to blossom and come out of my shell. She encouraged me to go at my own pace socially and academically.
I’ve always struggled with math and I’ve had an IEP since preschool. Hālau Kū Māna is a smaller school with approximately 120 students. I find this smaller setting helpful since I don’t thrive well in a bigger environment. It provides many learning opportunities outside of the classroom. We are definitely a hands-on type of school which I appreciate and adapt better in this smaller school setting. Kumu Consuelo is from the island of Lanaʻi. Our class got to visit her island and learn about Lanaʻi. It was a great opportunity for kids who do not have any traveling experience.
Kumu Consuelo goes above and beyond an expectation of a teacher. She treats all of her students as if they were her own children. Through this type of family-oriented teaching/learning I, along with others give her and other teachers the respect they deserve. During these difficult online learning times, Kumu Consuelo is the backbone to the online technology that we are all learning to get used to.
They say it takes a village to raise a child our school is definitely my village. Kumu Consuelo is the foundation of who I am today. My teachers have mentioned that I have “blossomed”. Now that I am older, I am definitely more comfortable with my class. I have tried to help my classmates as much as possible and although I am still the observer I definitely speak my mind. These qualities could not have been achieved on my own without Kumu Consuelo. Because of her, believing in me, I truly believe all things are possible.
Mahalo to Hālau Ku Mana for being that “village” and Mahalo to Kumu Consuelo for helping me to build confidence and believing in me, IEP and all!
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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!