Floor Presentation for Recipients of the Milken Family Foundation 2002-2003 National Educator Award


Floor Presentation for Teachers Leonard Villanueva and Lynne Aki Johnson, Recipients of the Milken Family Foundation 2002-2003 National Educator Award

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.

When it comes to heroes, Mr. Kanemoto, Mrs. Higashi, and Mrs. Chun come to mind. They were also my teachers.

The unsung heroes are the teachers who try to keep our young people engaged in their education. They serve as a member of each child's extended “ohana,” as they counsel, discipline, and support our children for nearly six hours a day, five days a week, nine to ten months every year.

Critics complain about the school system and call it “broken.” They are so eager to make a point about some of the failures of the system, but forget to recognize and honor the many positive things that are happening. Regardless if we have one, seven, or a hundred boards of education, it is people that make are schools great.
Leonard Villanueva, a teacher at Honowai Elementary School in my district, and Lynne Aki Johnson, a teacher at Aikahi Elementary School in Representative Thielen's district, represent the best in teaching because they make small miracles happen everyday in the lives of the children in their classrooms.

They too, are heroes.

Leonard Villanueva dreamt about becoming a teacher and has lived his dream for the past 15 years. He is a fourth grade teacher at Honowai Elementary School and with his knowledge of standards-based education and high expectations of his students, he is affectionately called “Mr. Standards.”

By his presence and example, he energizes his students and motivates them to learn. Even in his free time, he still teaches as a volleyball coach and an after-school tutor. And, through all his activities and by his example, he involves and continues to teach his son as a single parent. It is for these reasons The Milken Family Foundation named Mr. Villanueva as a recipient of their 2002-2003 National Educator Award, citing him for his exceptional and exemplary classroom practice and leadership. I am proud to present him before our honorable body to be able to say thank you for teaching and loving our children.

Mr. Villanueva, can you please rise. Also joining Mr. Villanueva today are his parents: Jose and Judith Villanueva.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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