Filipino teacher from Hawaii recognized with US presidential award

Kathleen Lee, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2019 05:12 PM

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HONOLULU, Hawaii – A Filipino was among the four Hawaii public school teachers recently awarded with the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching or PAEMST in Washington DC. 

“I got into teaching because first of all, I’m always curious about science, and teaching is a profession that I can explore that aspect, the curiosity of what happens in the world. At the same time, I can also make a difference in people’s lives,” said Dr. Nel Venzon, an AP (Advanced Placement) Biology teacher at the Mililani High School. 

Venzon has been a math and science teacher for 14 years. His students conduct authentic scientific research focused on a wide range of community issues.

His students have presented their research to the district, state, regional, national and international levels.

“With this class, you get to learn a lot. Like, a lot in AP biology because there’s so much information you need to know. But Dr. Venzon, he makes it simple. He makes it fun to understand it. It’s more hands-on, it’s more about communication, rather than just book learning,” said student Joshua Pablo.

Another student, Channing Chrisco, described Venzon as the most prepared teacher he has encountered.

“He’s just a really effective teacher and I learn the most from his class,” Chrisco said.

For Venzon, getting the prestigious award means so much more than his work inside the classroom. 

“It’s a symbolism for things such as empowering the youth. That, if a Filipino immigrant has achieved that award or has earned that award, I think we can also make it possible for Filipino youth to think, it doesn’t matter whether I’m a Filipino immigrant or not, anything’s possible if you put your mind and hard work to it,” he said.

Established in 1983, PAEMST is the highest award given by the US government to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers of mathematics and science.

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