Name: Faith S. Kasahara
Position: Teacher, Wailuku Elementary
Education: University of Hawaii-Manoa
Pastimes: Bowling, reading
She enjoyed playing the teacher in games as a youngster, and in high school, she worked with teachers as a volunteer in special education classes at Puunene School.
Kasahara, 43, a special education teacher at Wailuku Elementary, said she feels fortunate to be doing something she loves.
She said successes with students sometimes seem small, but they are significant in students' development and self-esteem.
"I enjoy just seeing the growth in all of them," Kasahara said.
Wailuku Elementary Principal Beverly Stanich said Kasahara is attentive to the needs of each student. "I think of her as an outstanding teacher because of the way she accepts each child as an individual and responds with great compassion and patience," Stanich said.
Kasahara tailors teaching methods to get results.
"You have to look at each child individually and find what will work," she said.
Kasahara worked summers in high school as a cashier at Suda Store and Azeka's Market and later as a clerk in the College of Education to help pay for her education. She said the jobs sharpened her social skills.
Kasahara, the first of six children to graduate from a four-year college, said her parents, Sadae and the late Tomoya Kasahara, also backed her dream of her becoming a teacher.