LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Lori Hamel

Position: Retiring Curriculum Coordinator
School: President Theodore Roosevelt High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Honolulu, HI

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Music that Describes Lori

Lori Hamel was nominated by her colleague, Melissa Kim.

"Although I have only been teaching for four years, I have met many different types of educators, from the ones who see it simply as a means to pay the bills, to the ones who see it as a means to make the world a better place. Lori Hamel is the latter," said Kim. "Lori was part of my interview team at Roosevelt High School when I was seeking a position teaching English. Although she was the curriculum coordinator, she had taught for many years in the English department. On my first day at Roosevelt, she greeted me with a lei and welcomed me into the Rough Rider family. Since then, she has helped me grow as a teacher and a person."

"In my second year at Roosevelt, Lori and I shared a classroom, and that’s when I saw the magic happen," said Kim. "Curriculum coordinating doesn’t even begin to describe what Lori does. Sure, she supports departments in finding and honing curriculum and strategies to help students learn, but she does so much more. She works with our administration to help support our school’s vision and mission. She offers trainings for individuals and the entire faculty."

Mrs. Hamel volunteers to chaperone student field trips, stays late to help at Open House and Awards Night, and plans community events for students. She gathers wedding and baby photos from the faculty and shows them at meetings. She wears necklaces with Rosie the Riveter on them to remind the faculty that “they can do it!”

Mrs. Hamel dedicates her work to finding ways to better educate students and support faculty. She does it with poise, grace, and a sense of humor.

"I can only imagine what it was like to have her as a teacher," said Kim. "I got to see a former student visit Lori one day. The student, who had to have been in his early thirties, burst into our classroom, gave a big smile and shouted 'Mrs. Hamel!' Lori returned the smile in similar fashion, recalled the student’s first and last name, and hugged him. That simple embrace spoke volumes as to what kind of mark she must have made on his life."

"Working with Lori has made me a better teacher," said Kim. "Lori observed me in classes and gave me valuable feedback. She listened to me vent when I had a frustrating day. She encouraged me when I felt like I was getting nowhere. It goes without saying that I’m going to miss her when she retires this year, and that the halls at Roosevelt will feel a little different. However, her legacy is not only the many people she has impacted in her career. Part of her legacy is the reminder she left in teachers like myself that 'We can do it!'"

Comments (24)

Tatiana Chauvet-Martin Posted over a year ago

Oh Lori, You so deserve this award!! You are so encouraging, so uplifting, always have a kind word, and find ways to make me giggle on the few days that were a bit difficult for me. I have only known you for a year but you made an impact I will remember for a lifetime! Thank you, I will miss you!

Michael O'Connell Posted over a year ago

Not surprised to read the comments and see all the love for Mrs Hamel. What stands out to me is knowing that her accomplishments are a result of her genuine love for helping others. Her ability to positively influence people professionally and personally makes her irreplaceable!

Brandon Miguel Posted over a year ago

I can’t think of a more deserving teacher for the Life Changer of the Year award than Mrs. Hamel. Her hard work and dedication to teaching had really stood out to me as a student. I was never so excited to attend class, especially while being friends and classmates with her two sons. Even though there was a lot of fun in and out of the classroom, I definitely learned a lot through her compassion and attention to each of us in her teaching. I still find myself remembering her tips to help me write emails for work. On top of being our English Teacher, she helped lead our high school’s Engineering & Technology Academy. This was a new program that helped me decide my current career as a Project Engineer. Without her leadership I definitely won’t be where I am today. She helped run STEM events and activities that got me focused on getting an engineering degree. I’m forever grateful to her for that. Mrs. Hamel has helped many other students like me in deciding pathways that would best suit them. Thank you Mrs. Hamel and congratulations on your nomination for Life Changer of the Year!

Kali Kasashima Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel...Aunty Lori! Thank you for everything. Running the E&T Academy, supervising us hooligans at the Stan Sheriff concession stands, taking us on that awesome Paris trip, educating and inspiring countless students (Bruno!!!), and opening your home to me and all the other kids your sons brought over :) When I look back on my time at Roosevelt, realizing how difficult high schoolers can be, I’m even more impressed and appreciative of the enthusiasm, compassion, and care you put into educating each of your students. The work that you did at Roosevelt is absolutely life changing, and I can't think of someone more deserving of this nomination and award. Having a teacher like you who cares so much about their students really makes all the difference. Writing this got me looking through old high school assignments, and I found the Vignettes project. Hoping that in the 11 years that have passed since junior year, my thinking has evolved to a higher level than just critiquing the smell of the other passengers on The Bus, and what it’s like to watch TV…but who knows? Anyway, thanks again Mrs. Hamel for all that you do. You’re excellent teacher, role model, and aunty to all of your students. Know that the work you’ve done, and the impact you have reaches far beyond RHS, and will last for a lifetime.

Ryan Darnell Posted over a year ago

Lori Hamel was my first department head when I began teaching at Roosevelt High School. She always demonstrated what it meant to be a lifelong educator. She has taken on so many different roles since I've known her and I truly hope that I can achieve even a fraction of what she has done when my career is over. Lori has been the best teacher, not only for her students, but for the faculty as well. She fully utilized her teacher toolkit to engage teachers and improve our ability to educate and empower our own learners in her role as Curriculum Coordinator. Roosevelt High School has received many academic accolades in recent years, and that is largely due to Mrs. Hamel's efforts. I have been lucky, as a member of our school's instructional leadership team, to see firsthand how meticulous she is in her planning. She never loses focus in putting the school and our students first. Lori has done her alma mater proud by leaving a legacy for years to come.

Chad Wago Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel was my English teacher junior year and she was so fun and encouraging that when she said she was going to revive the news writing class, I signed up instantly. She had an endless amount of patience for the nonsense that some of us participated in, and would stay hours into the night until we'd completed our work. She pushed me to develop a stronger voice in my writing and gave me my own column in the paper. Without teachers like Mrs. Hamel, I don't know if I would have had the confidence to have been able write stand-up comedy, or sketch comedy that actually made it on television. Granted, I'm no longer in the entertainment industry, but I still trace a straight line between her classes and that period of my life.

Ryan Okuno Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel was one of the best teachers I was lucky enough to have and I wish I could've been in more of her classes. I can't remember how many years I was in her newswriting (was it 1 or 2?) but the length of time I was in her class is irrelevant because the impact of her teaching will be life long. She taught us to be opinionated and to fucking send it, but she also made sure we could back it up. Newswriting made us all better posters. Locally and nationwide, public educators are under attack by private industry and the government who is supposed to be supporting and defending them. What the bourgeoisie class don't know is that there are generations of working class people who grew up with teachers like Mrs. Hamel who will defend our right to a top notch public education with amazing public educators like Mrs. Hamel.

Bethany Mariconda Posted over a year ago

Lori is an outstanding educator. I had the privilege of working with her on pilot program she brought to our school and through mentorship that she extended to me over the course of the year. While we've only worked together for a short time, her impact will be long-standing. Lori is strong visionary who values knowing why we are doing what we are doing and strives to make it accessible and better for everyone involved. She brings thoughtful ideas, is willing to experiment and try out new things without adding more busy work for others, and models leadership through her service to others and the community at large. Lori will never ask someone to do something without having done several iterations herself first and seen fruit from the effort. When Lori has an idea or a plan, the recipients listen because they trust her character, her priorities, and her work ethic. Lori brings life to every gathering she is a part of, making each meeting an opportunity for connection, inspiration, and fun. She reminds me of Mary Poppins with her strategy to make medicine go down with some sugar; and it works! Lori is incredibly deserving of this award. Lori, celebrate all the years of service that you have contributed to this community. It was worth your time, energy, and life. I'm so grateful to know you. Enjoy the next season!

Dale Matsuura Posted over a year ago

Twenty four years ago Mrs. Hamel was my English teacher. Four years ago I transferred to Roosevelt High School as an SSC and now have the privilege of working with Lori. Lori's passion for teaching is always felt. Through her compassion and empathy she reached out and helped so many. At a time before there was a thing called Social Emotional Learning, Lori had it. She constantly paid out of pocket for supplies for students. She never put a student on the spot. She challenged students, not in a confrontational way but in a gentle motherly way nudging you forward for your own good. Needless to say, Lori has helped shape and change the lives of so many Rough Riders, both student and teachers. I can not see anyone more deserving of the Lifechanger of the Year Award. She will remain a legend as one of the good ones. So Lori, enjoy this new chapter in your life. Wherever life takes you, I'm sure education will be embedded somewhere, somehow!

Garett Kajiwara Posted over a year ago

I only had Mrs. Hamel for news writing my senior year, but it was very memorable and she quickly became one of my favorite teachers. She unwisely allowed Chad and I to be co-editors of the features section and kept us there even with our terrible editing that caused her and Yoon Ji more work. She was willing to stay as late as she could so we could work after school ended and I always appreciated her hilarious stories about her kids. Lastly, thanks for humoring Seth and I that Newsies is a relevant and serious film about news writing. It's got the ID4 president and Batman so in hindsight, we were right.

Gregg Abe Posted over a year ago

Lori Hamel is the consummate picture of what an educator should be. Her students gravitate to her because of her kind and caring demeanor and her ability to communicate to each one. Her door is always open to those needing assistance or just to talk. She took on many roles while at Roosevelt High School going from a language arts teacher to her final position as our curriculum coordinator. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award as she has been an inspiration to everyone she has been associated with. She has done this while being a loving wife and mom to her three children who went through the music program at Roosevelt High School. On a personal note, she has been not only an inspiration to me but also a dear friend. There was never a time she said no when I needed assistance at the last minute to chaperone our group on trips and other various activities I needed help with. Although there probably will not be anyone else like her to pep us up at our faculty meetings at the end of the day, she will always be remembered in our hearts. I cannot emphasize enough how deserving she is of this award. Take care Lori and have a wonderful retirement!!!

Jacqueline L Ornellas Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of working in the English department at Roosevelt and at the last few years there, Lori Hamel was my department head and FRIEND. Once she gets under your skin, you’ll never be rid of her, thank goodness! I got to watch her in action many times and she truly loves teaching and loves her students. When I grow up, I wanna be just like her!! Congratulations on your retirement and know that anytime you get the urge to read to students, the doors are open at Lincoln Elementary.

Matt Daniels Posted over a year ago

Lori, THANK YOU! Thank you for not only the work you accomplished with myself as an educator but for all of your years of service to Roosevelt High School. You made a difference every single day here, don't forget that. Every. Single. Day. You impacted so many students in the classroom from what others have told me (you aren’t one to brag, but others like to brag for you!) Now that's the sign of a true leader, a true leader doesn't brag about their accomplishments because others are too busy doing it form them. You are in that same boat. You also have done an AMAZING job as curriculum coordinator during my four years here at Roosevelt. You had the biggest IMPACT on me out of anyone here at Roosevelt over the last four years as a teacher and working collaboratively with other teachers. You made collaborating with other teachers fun and meaningful. I didn’t always love the professional development/collaborative teacher teamwork at my previous schools and now I know the biggest reason for that is that I don’t like other people...JK….It’s that I never had a strong leader paving the path to success for me! So thank you for helping me grow as a teacher in so many ways! I wish I was retiring too, but since I’m not, just remember that every student I impact in the future will also be a student you are impacting because I will be using what I learned from you to teach them. The world still needs people like you to be fighting to better the education for students all over! Maybe we will cross paths in the future; I will try to get my next teaching job to get you on board as a private consultant and get you the big bucks you deserve! Roosevelt will never be able to replace a Lori Hamel with one person, but hopefully everything you have taught the school over the years will be able to help fill that gap when teachers continue to utilize the lessons you’ve taught us over the years. You were the most fun curriculum coordinator I had ever worked with because I mean, who else has a curriculum coordinator that wears capes and Cookie Lyon outfits to after school meetings? But seriously, you really did help me grow so much as an educator and it’s because you made our meetings fun but also meaningful. You helped me see the value in things like data teams and getting into the nitty-gritty of curriculum maps and focusing on skills, not content. I will never forget all of the lessons you taught me the last four years. I hope we stay in touch even though we are both leaving Roosevelt on our new journeys! THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE AND WILL DO IN THE FUTURE FOR EDUCATION!

Natasha Kolo Posted over a year ago

I was never lucky enough to land myself in Mrs. Hamel's class, but she was known by all for being one of the nicest and coolest teachers. I remember greeting her in the hallways and receiving a sweet smile and a "Hi" in return. It makes me so happy to see her kindness and passion over the years get her this type of honorable recognition! Congratulations Mrs. Hamel!????

Gregg Abe Posted over a year ago

Lori Hamel dedicated her life to educating her students as you will see when more people start to leave comments on her post. More importantly, she was able to do all of this while being a wonderful mom, husband, and friend to everyone she came into contact with. Her door was ALWAYS open to anyone for advise or just to chat. For me personally she has been a inspiring role model and someone that I can always turn to when I needed assistance. She would help you at moments notice as was evident when I needed a chaperone for our New York trip last year. The day before the trip one of our chaperones had to drop out due to an emergency so I asked Lori if she would be able to chaperone. Without hesitation and the approval of our administration she was on board. Thank you Lori for everything that you have done for your students and our school. You will be greatly missed but I wish you the best in your retirement. Take care!!!

Jenna Takenouchi Posted over a year ago

While I only had the pleasure of one year of news writing with Mrs. Hamel, it's a class that profoundly impacted me during my senior year. I fancied myself a writer with dreams of pursuing journalism and she provided me my first real platform to test my literary voice in a school column that was written about really nothing at all. While I abandoned that path in college, I've always thought fondly of the opportunity and her trust since there really were no parameters when I was kind of a strongly opinionated (still am) and emo (hopefully not as much) kid. Looking back as an adult, her combination of enthusiasm and ability to tell it to you like it is creates an authenticity that speaks to young people. A well-deserved nomination! Mrs. Hamel, thank you for all the years of service spent shaping students' lives!

Laiku Lucey Posted over a year ago

Aww mrs. congratulations on your reward so happy for you. Here are some flowers for a emoji ??????????????????????????????

Patti Kadohiro Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel was my English teacher junior year. I failed almost every single class, including hers, but she never gave up on me. She encouraged me to read novels, in which I believe she is the only teacher I was willing to pick up a book for. I finished reading my first and only novel for her class. She motivated all of us, encouraged all of us, and made class enjoyable, and this is without all the technologies students have today. Her charismatic and genuine personality is what drew all of us to want to make a connection with her.

Aarika (Lim) Riddle Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel’s news writing class is what made me pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication. As an editor for the RHS school paper, I had a chance to work closely with Mrs. Hamel and loved every minute of it. It was her passion and class that helped me realize my love of writing. As a nonprofit development & marketing director and now nonprofit executive director, I’ve had the opportunity to explore all kinds of writing styles and formats. News article writing is still one of my favorites. Thank you, Mrs. Hammel!

Pomai F. Posted over a year ago

Mrs.Hamel was my first period English teacher during my 2009 junior year at Roosevelt High School. I thoroughly enjoyed every class with Mrs.Hamel and my classmates- I’m sure they will all say the same! Can you imagine being the first class for juniors? who at the time, would rather hang out an hour longer in the morning then being in class! Mrs. Hamel’s class was located on the 2nd floor corner of A building- and the layout of the room really fit Mrs.Hamel’s aloha! Open doors- and the views of the field and road AND the corner of the school. It was so special! Mrs.Hamel brought such a positive spark EVERY single morning- followed with a smile, no joke. Just don’t act up! I realize now that every assignment and project she taught was executed with comfort and support. We knew we could come to her with any questions, concerns and get the support we needed. And it furthered beyond the classroom. I’d say I was a book head in high school so I especially enjoyed her book assignments and the projects that followed. I didn’t get a chance to tell her, but I appreciate the books she chose and the time she gave us as students to resonate and share. 1) Name Me Nobody by Lois Ann Yamanaka and 2) Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz (I had to google this author). I hold dear to my high school ‘career’. With this being said, MAHALO and ALOHA NUI, Mrs.Hamel. Cheers to being such an inspirational teacher, mentor and powerful woman at Roosevelt High School. Best of wishes in your retirement! Aloha, Pomai F.

Randi Akasaki Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel was my newswriting teacher for 3 of 4 years of high school. I only missed the one year because of a scheduling conflict, and it was a huge bummer to miss that year! I'm almost 20 years out of high school now but I can still remember vividly how much I looked forward to newswriting class every day, and how much joy Mrs. Hamel brought to the classroom. As a an editor-in-chief, there were many late afternoons and evenings spent toiling over the next day's publication, making last minute edits and formatting with the less than perfect software and technology that we had at the time. Mrs. Hamel never complained about staying late with us, and kept our spirits up with her humor and good cheer. A certain student who these days goes by his stage name of Bruno once called her Cori Camel, and I wonder if she thinks about that when his songs are on the radio. I do know that he respected her more than any other teacher, and it was not hard to see why. So in any event, I hope Cori Camel enjoys a well deserved retirement!!

Laiku Lucey Posted over a year ago

Aww mrs. congratulations on your reward so happy for you. Here are some flowers for a emoji ??????????????????????????????

Lindsey Tamai Posted over a year ago

Mrs. Hamel was hands down my favorite high school teacher! She is the reason why I know when to quote (know your peas please)! I always enjoyed going to her class because of the catchy tunes she created, her engaging lessons, and most of all her vivacious personality. As a current educator, I try to take what I loved about her class into my classroom now. Thank you for making my senior year so enjoyable and being one of the most caring, cool, and fun teachers I know. We need more Mrs. Hamel's in the world!

Nancy Byun Posted over a year ago

I was graced with the effervescent presence that is Mrs. Hamel for more than half my life. She was first my English teacher at Roosevelt High School. Then, my very enthusiastic Oral Interpretation (basically drama) teacher. After meeting her and being blasted with her positive energy and zest for life, I went into college knowing that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to become a teacher who truly cared for her students, and motivated them to be the best they could be. She is genuine and loving, strong-willed and tenacious. And she knows how to have fun! A few years later, Mrs. Hamel became my mentor while I was student-teaching. She offered me nurturing guidance, and sound advice whenever I needed it. When she believes in people, she really believes hard, and it's difficult to deny that kind of power pushing you forward. She was always in my corner, and I am completely grateful. Now, I am a teacher at Roosevelt High School, teaching drama and theater to my own rambunctious bunch of students. It is a complete honor to have been a pupil of Mrs. Hamel then, and now a colleague, and I can think of no better person to receive the Life Changer of the the Year Award. She, quite literally, changed my life, and had an enormous part in who I am today. Thank you, Mrs. Hamel. Aloha~