Living My Legacy by Lisa-Anne L. Tsuruda, MEA 2009 Hawaii
When I was a senior in high school, I was fortunate enough to win a scholarship. I thought it would probably go to someone planning to be a doctor or a lawyer or even a business person, but it was given, instead, to someone who wanted to major in education. This impacted me so greatly that it became my dream to do the same thing for someone else when I had the opportunity.
Victoria Delos Santos, the first recipient of the Legacy Scholarship for Future Educators, stands with Lisa-Anne L. Tsuruda (HI '09).
Being named a Milken Educator in 2009 was this opportunity; it allowed me to fulfill one of my most fervent wishes: to give away the bulk of my award in scholarships to those brave enough to say they want to be a teacher. I want to give support and guidance to those who are following in my professional footsteps. I set up the Lisa-Anne L. Tsuruda Legacy Scholarship for Future Educators at Mililani High School where I teach. I am giving away one $500 scholarship to a graduating senior for the next 20 years who is going into the educational field.
I was so ecstatic to give my very first award this past May to Ms. Victoria Delos Santos. She focused her senior project on teaching a class of second graders about coral reef conservation. The experience was so life-changing that she switched her major from business to education. She looks at her award as a promise that she will grow into the very best teacher she can. She’s told me that she also wants to set up a scholarship when she becomes a teacher. She takes our faith in her seriously and she is well on her way to a great career.
"I want to continue to bring awareness to the public about the importance of exceptional and caring teachers in our schools."
This act of giving and helping others has proved to be a profound one. One of my friends, Kim Coco Iwamoto, is a member of the State of Hawaii Board of Education. Upon reading a newspaper article about my scholarship, she immediately called me to say that I inspire her and that she wanted to do something. This “something” has taken the form of a sister Legacy Scholarship at Waianae High School, where I taught for 12 years. She has matched my $10,000 donation and we will now have an additional 20 Legacy Scholars, 40 in all. I hope that this cycle of inspiration and support will continue to flourish.
I want to continue to bring awareness to the public about the importance of exceptional and caring teachers in our schools. I have my “platform,” and having the esteemed moniker of Milken Education Award recipient after my name has given me a larger and varied arena to spread my message loud and clear. All of us, in each of our own unique ways, must remember to live our legacy every single day. This is mine.
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