Connections: Linking Talented Educators
Connections: Linking Talented Educators

Students Say: Mike Sana (HI '15)

July 7, 2019

Mike Sana student letter with photo2

Thoughtful words from a current or former student brighten every educator's day. In this occasional series, we'll share notes received by Milken Educators that remind us all of the deep, lasting impact educators have on their students' lives.

The note took Mike Sana (HI '15) by surprise. "Went in for a meeting and then decided to prep/tidy up the classroom and found this little note under a stack of papers," wrote Mike, who chairs the science department and serves as biotechnology lead for the Academy of Health & Sciences at Waipahu High School on Oahu, on Facebook. "[This is] why we do what we do!"

From the student:

"I just wanted to thank you for having the opportunity to take your class. I believe out of all the science classes I took, your class was beneficial to me. I enjoyed doing the projects and the lab that we did was interesting.

"Basically, without me taking your class, I would not have been interested in being [in] the medical field. I always thought science was hard but you taught me to find a way to understand the work. The beginning of the school year we had a girl in our class who didn't know what she was doing....What you told her [rang] a bell in my head. So thank you."

The note came from a senior in Mike's Biotech class, an English language learner who took the class after hearing about it from friends. Mike's lab uses professional-grade equipment, and students are often nervous that they might break something expensive. "I explain to them that learning to use the equipment is about taking risks," says Mike. "If you don't take risks, you'll never find out how good you might become. To be successful we have to practice, practice, practice until we master the skills we need. This student learned a lot about science—and, more importantly, about herself."

Milken Educators, do you have a message from a student you'd like us to share? We'd love to hear from you. Email or tag @milken on Twitter.


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