comscore Honolulu teacher wins national honor | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Honolulu teacher wins national honor

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Star-Advertiser staff

Melanie Ah Soon, a sixth-grade science teacher at Sacred Hearts Academy, was one of 85 math and science teachers nationwide named Thursday as recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The White House announced the list of winners. The educators will receive their awards later this year in Washington, D.C.

Ah Soon teaches math and language arts at the Kaimuki school. This is her fifth year at Sacred Hearts and 19th year overall as a teacher.

She was the only teacher from Hawaii selected this year.

“I have been blessed to receive such a prestigious honor,” Ah Soon wrote to the committee. “The award makes me proud to be a teacher. To be recognized for a job that I call a vocation, as well as an avocation, is a very humbling experience for me.

“It is a thrilling moment when I engage my students in something innovative, see their excitement, and feel that I have just sparked their love of learning. This award makes me understand the endless possibilities I can use to help students become globally aware citizens and positive, contributing members of the community. This award is the result of the full support and encouragement that I continue to receive from my school community and my family, and it is with gratitude that I share this recognition with them.”

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 science and mathematics teachers from across the country.

Each year, the award alternates between teachers teaching kindergarten through sixth grade and those teaching seventh through 12th grades. The 2010 awardees named last week teach kindergarten through sixth grade.

Winners receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expense-paid trip to Washington for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the administration.

President Barack Obama has committed to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and prepare 100,000 effective science and mathematics teachers over the next decade. These commitments build on the president’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which has attracted more than $700 million in donations and in-kind support from corporations, philanthropies, service organizations, and others to help bolster science and technology education in the classroom.

“The teachers we honor today have demonstrated uncommon skill and devotion in the classroom, nurturing the young minds of tomorrow’s science and math leaders,” Obama said in a news release. “America’s competitiveness rests on the excellence of our citizens in technical fields, and we owe these teachers a debt of gratitude for strengthening America’s prosperity.”

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