LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Heather Tagawa

Position: BEST Academy Counselor
School: Waiakea High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Hilo, HI

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Heather Tagawa was nominated by an anonymous student.

Taking on school leadership positions can be quite intimidating, but the nerves are lessened with proper guidance. Mrs. Tagawa, a counselor at Waiakea High School for the BEST (Business, Engineering, Sciences, and Technology) Academy, also takes on the difficult role of being one of the class of 2021’s head advisors. She definitely has a lot on her plate between overseeing the officers, supervising many activities, and dissolving conflicts. While balancing all of these responsibilities, she is still constantly able to look after the many students at Waiakea. 

Although her main job is counseling, being a class advisor on top of that takes up so much time. It's a voluntary role, and there is something truly admirable about those who choose to take on this rigorous position.

"Without people such as Mrs. Tagawa, this school would not be able to put on such extravagant and fun activities for the students to partake in," said the nominator. "Selfless individuals like her keep Waiakea running in full motion to maintain student enjoyment and provide a true high school experience."

Mrs. Tagawa's dedication to the class of 2021 is inspiring. Over the summer, there was a discrepancy that required heavy amounts of discussion, and she needed to come to school for many days during what was supposed to be her break. A time that was supposed to be spent with family was instead spent at school, in conversation with other faculty members. This is definitely not the only instance in which Mrs. Tagawa generously gave up her time for the benefit of her students.

"Homecoming week is always very hectic. This year, in particular, we had less time than the years prior to prepare for the highly anticipated week," the nominator said. "This meant more work sessions and practices to take up the weekends that are usually meant to be times of relaxation. Almost every weekend was spent at school leading up to Homecoming...Mrs. Tagawa did this work essentially for free. We are beyond appreciative of all of her efforts and would not have experienced the same amount of success and unity without her."

As a counselor, Mrs. Tagawa not only looks after the students within her academy, but others as well. Waiakea High School is lucky to have a hard-working faculty member like her who has positively impacted the lives of many students. Within both realms of being a counselor and an advisor, she has left her mark and helped so many students to achieve great things. She is a LifeChanger to many students and will continue to be for years to come.