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Award Notification:  Michael Sana (HI '15)

Featured in this video:  Michael Sana (HI '15)
Waipahu, HI   |    Jan 29, 2016
Waipahu High School

Aloha, Michael Sana — You're Hawaii's 2015-16 Milken Educator Award Winner!

When Michael Sana was a teenager, he and his mother made a deal: She would fight her cancer and live long enough to attend his high school graduation, and he would go on to finish college and make a difference in the world.

Both kept their promises. Sana, a revered science teacher at Waipahu High School, received Hawaii's 2015-16 Milken Educator Award from Governor David Ige. "Mr. Sana's work at Waipahu High has been truly exceptional and has raised expectations of what is possible in high school science programs," said Ige.

Sana, who teaches AP Biology, biology and medical biotechnology at Waipahu High, is the only educator in Hawaii certified by Rutgers University to teach biotech. Under his leadership, the school's AP Biology program has grown from 12 students to 40. Sana's students have published their research 120 times with the National Institutes of Health and have worked at prestigious labs like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Sana clearly inspires his students both academically and personally. "He sees the potential in you even if you don't believe in it, and he pushes you toward that potential," said one student after Sana's surprise notification.