Mililani High School Teacher Named One Of Nation’s Best

It’s official. Cynthia Tong is now one of the country’s best teachers. The Mililani High School educator was recently named the 2012 Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year, Senior Division. The award was announced at the National History Day awards ceremony at the University of Maryland. This is the second year in a row that a Hawaii teacher has won the award.

“We were surprised and delight- ed that a teacher from Hawaii History Day was again honored with a National History Day Teacher of the Year award,” said Robert Buss, executive director of the Hawaii Council for the Humanities. “Mrs. Tong is a longtime History Day teacher devoted to its ideas of teaching history as a way of thinking more clearly and carefully about the past. Her innovation and creative classroom teaching, lead- ership and commitment to her students make her most deserving of this honor.”

Tong has taught at the school since 2002 and has been involved with the Hawaii History Day program for 17 years. Because of her efforts, Mililani High School students have qualified for district, state and national levels in every year she has been involved. Hawaii History Day is a program of the Hawaii Council for the Humanities and an affiliate of National History Day.

“Mrs. Tong, by force of vision, personality and character, has been able to substantively reshape the educational landscape at Mililani High School for the benefit of students in part through her tireless efforts with history day,” said Mililani High School’s social studies department head Amy Perruso.

In addition to Tong’s $10,000 cash prize, five Hawaii public school students were honored for their academic efforts. Kahuku High & Intermediate student Chenoa Yorgason won the Women’s History Special Award and $1,000 for Senior Individual Website project, “The Pill: Revolutionizing Right, Reforming Roles.” Kailua Intermediate student Tatiana Zamora won third place and $250 for her Junior Individual Exhibit, “Bay of Pigs Invasion: The United States Reaction to Castro’s Revolution.” Pomai Tollefsen, a Kahuku Elementary School student, earned the Outstanding State Entry, Junior Division for her Junior Website project, “Revolutionizing the Role of the First Lady,” and Alohilani Nonies and Megan Madeira of Mililani High School earned the Outstanding State Entry, Senior Division for their documentary “The 1954 Democratic Revolution in Hawaii.”