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VFW Honors Educator With Teacher Of The Year Award

Maryknoll School history teacher Steven Caley. Photo from Maryknoll School.

Maryknoll School history teacher Steven Caley. Photo from Maryknoll School.

A Mililani resident has been named Teacher of the Year by Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Steven Caley, who teaches U.S. history at Maryknoll School, was presented with the award Feb. 21.

Each year, three educators are recognized by VFW for their commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.

Caley was an infantryman in the U.S. Army and served as an intern with the United Nations in India after graduating college. He has been teaching history for 17 years, including nine years at Maryknoll.

Caley begins the semester asking his students, “What does it mean to be an American?” Then, throughout the course of study, the class revisits the question, referencing different time periods and in regard to different people.

“On the last day of the course, the students answer the same question again,” Caley explained, “and it is so powerful to see how they have evolved. Their evolution as students during my class mirrors that of our nation’s history: It is one facing the unknown, embracing adversity, with long periods of growth followed by challenging setbacks, mistakes, celebrations, excellence and a continued desire to always improve. To read their responses makes me proud to be a teacher and an American.”

Cmdr. Ron Lockwood of VFW Post 8616 Diamond Head oversaw Caley’s nomination and was impressed with his efforts to engage students.

“Mr. Caley had the entire student body asking questions of political candidates, and then led them outside to hold a ‘Get Out and Vote’ sign-waving campaign,” said Lockwood. “Having an entire school behind this project shows outstanding leadership skills and the ability to motivate people. The best thing people can take away from this is that Mr. Caley is a dedicated professional who pushes his students to excel.”

Perhaps no one was more impressed with the award than Caley’s daughter Brooklyn, who won her own award on the same day.

“My favorite memory of the awards celebration was seeing my 5-year-old daughter beaming with pride when I received the award,” he said. “Earlier in the day, she had received the Dancer of the Day award at her jazz class, and when the ceremony ended, she said to me, ‘Daddy, I am so proud of you! Teacher of the Year is almost as good as Dancer of the Day!'”