Meet some of this year’s new teachers

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Courtesy photos

Alquisa (left), Sawai (top right) and Garcia (bottom right).

The Cane Tassel Staff

Scott Alquisa is one of the Academy of Arts and Communications’ newest additions, teaching Arts & Communication Pathway Core, Graphic Design, and Broadcast Media. 

Alquisa previously taught at Wahiawa Middle School as a visual arts teacher. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative media from UH West Oahu, and is currently working toward his master’s degree in teaching at UH Manoa. During his senior year at Mililani High School, Alquisa placed in multiple video competitions including the Olelo Youth Xchange.

In his free time, Alquisa enjoys capturing his life through photography, whether taking pictures of food or editing snapshots of his life on Lightroom to post on Instagram.

 

Trading 12-hour shifts in the hospital for days in the classroom, Jarek Garcia decided that his work as a registered nurse wasn’t making him as happy as he hoped. “I went through all of this and thought maybe I can just be a nurse for a while. But I figured that we aren’t guaranteed to live forever, so why would I wait to try something I could possibly be happier with? So that’s when I made a change to teaching soon after,” Garcia says.

Garcia now teaches Foundations of Health Services and Advanced Health Services in the Academy of Health and Sciences. His nursing experience helps him understand and share the course material in a unique way with his students: “It’s one thing to hear about it and learn about it from a textbook or from a friend in the health field, but it’s another thing going to UH Manoa School of Nursing, working in the hospital setting, talking to patients, and working in the community. That brings me a new understanding of the subject.”

 

When Barron Lum was completing his master’s degree in education and teaching at UH Manoa, he was placed at Waipahu High School as a student teacher. His mentor teachers were Ian Ferris and Tracy Takahashi. After finishing the program, he taught social studies at Ewa Makai Middle School for four years. Lum then taught at Punahou School for a year, before returning to Ewa Makai for another three years. He now teaches 10th grade US History and Government for the Academy of Health Sciences. 

“I’m enjoying my experience so far. I have great kids and I really appreciate them, and hopefully, this feeling will continue on as the year continues,” Lum of his return to Waipahu High School. 

When not teaching, Lum enjoys working out, sleeping, and spending time with his family and friends. 

 

While he was interested in being an engineer since intermediate school, Algebra 1 and Geometry teacher Daniel John Quiamas discovered his passion for teaching during his senior year in the Teacher Education program at Waipahu High School. His parents were both teachers in the Philippines, and his father is now a special education teacher.

Quiamas says it feels good to be back at his alma mater and encourages all Waipahu High School students to take his parents’ advice to “just try—take on any opportunities that come [your] way. You’ll never know if you’re going to like something unless you try it out.”

 

Pauline Sawai teaches yearbook and photography classes for the Academy of Arts and Communication. 

Sawai knew in elementary school that she wanted to be a teacher, creating makeshift worksheets for her younger brothers. After graduating from the University of Hawaii, she worked at Disneyland and Ford Aerospace in Orange County, California because there were no teaching jobs in Hawaii. After starting her family, Sawai returned to Hawaii and began teaching at Kahuku High School and Kapolei High School before joining the Waipahu High School faculty this year. 

Outside of school, she’s had opportunities to travel through many teacher workshops. Sawai has traveled to the South Pacific, Japan, and the mainland.  This summer, she visited Heart Mountain, Wyoming, one of the sites of the Japanese American incarceration sites during World War II, through the National Endowment for the Humanities.