LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Adrian DeMello

Position: Chemistry Teacher
School: Waiakea High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Hilo, HI

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Adrian DeMello was nominated by his student, Koby Kosaki.

"Being a hard worker demands diligence, passion, and sacrifice, and I know of few people more hard-working than Adrian DeMello,"said Kosaki. "In the time I have known Mr. DeMello, I have come to see the many ways he has exceeded every expectation: as a teacher, a mentor, and a person. While most people relax at home, he is busy planning lessons, tutoring students, volunteering, or working. Despite his intense workload, he has always managed to make his students feel safe and comfortable in his class, never letting his own stresses weigh on his upbeat, active teaching style.  Through his leadership and profound passion for learning, Mr. DeMello has set a high standard for all of his students to strive toward in their futures."

Mr. Demello often spends long hours in class correcting papers, helping struggling students, or preparing lesson plans for the following days.  He makes it a point to ensure all students can contact him, whether through phone or email, so he can help them in any way he can.  To ensure no child feels left behind, he sets time aside during class to walk around the room and talk to kids one on one to give them any specialized help they need.  As for his lessons, he tries to stay away from textbook reading and busywork as much as possible in favor of demonstrations and entertaining lectures, which will leave a much stronger impression on students.

"During his lessons, he maintains an upbeat and laid back attitude," said Kosaki. "He makes students feel welcome and excited to come to class. I can personally attest to this, as I never once dreaded going to his AP Chemistry class, despite the massive workload and constant blank paper quizzes he would give out eagerly nearly every class."

While being an excellent teacher in the classroom, Mr. DeMello puts in much more work outside of campus.  In his free time, he volunteers his skills in carpentry to give back to the community. One project he has recently been working on is volunteering his time on weekends to replace the broken fencing at a local preschool.  Additionally, he uses these skills to help Boy Scouts complete their Eagle Scout requirements by volunteering his expertise and labor to help them complete their community projects. Moreover, in the early hours of the morning, he can be found working on letters of recommendation for his many students.  Spending many hours on each letter, he is incredibly thorough in his evaluations, which will help pave the way for each student’s future.

As an educator, Mr. DeMello takes a personable approach to his classes. He gets to know each and every one of his students on a deep level in order to give them individual help best suited to their needs.  He makes it a point in class to make every student feel involved, usually by using their names in example problems or getting them to participate in class demonstrations, and he keeps an eye on every student's well-being.  One of Mr. DeMello's many gifts as a teacher is his perceptive nature. This ability has allowed him to become more than an educator. With this skill, he is able to give his students the help they need beyond the course material in the form of support and guidance.  

In his commitment to education, Mr. DeMello also maintains a high moral standard for his students' education.  Every class, he instills in his students the importance of having a strong desire to learn. He often explains that any person can cheat and get good grades, but if you do not learn anything, then you are just wasting your time. This lesson is one he hopes his students will take with them beyond his course, one that will stick with them through college and into their lives. 

"Of all the teachers I have had, none have been more in-tune with their students than Mr. DeMello," said Kosaki. "His ability to create a classroom environment where every child feels free to relax and open up has been invaluable in making him an amazing teacher that students remember into adulthood.  Mr. DeMello's role as an educator, mentor, and friend have left lasting impressions on countless students. He has given students the chance to achieve success far beyond what they thought they were capable of."