wins national award
Robert S.J. Hu, a social studies teacher at Mililani High School, has won a Horace Mann-NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, which carries a $10,000 prize.
He is one of five recipients nationally who will go on to compete as finalists for the $25,000 National Education Association Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, to be announced in December in Washington, D.C.
"Learning in Hu's class means learning about the world through projects and problem solving," said Roger Takabayashi, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, the NEA affiliate that nominated Hu for the award. "His class buzzes with activities every day."
Hu, a 33-year veteran who teaches American civics and ethnic studies, created the Ohana Project 27 years ago to encourage students to apply their learning outside the classroom through community service.
"One of my major teaching goals is to help students become responsible and caring citizens," said Hu, who was also honored as the 2004 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year.
His ethnic studies students trace their family trees to promote respect for diversity. Hu's father immigrated to Hawaii from Canton, China, and his mother was born on a Kauai plantation. He credits his public education with helping him succeed in life.
Hu has been active in the National Education Association for most of his teaching career. He received his master's degree in education from the University of Hawaii and a bachelor's degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.
The NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence was created in 2000 to reward and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession. The Horace Mann Insurance Co. funds the awards.