It's Sunday afternoon and Lena Kanemori is contently scanning some pictures of the endangered Hawaiian birds and plants photographed by
Jim Denny for her web page. This is clearly a change of pace for the
Enchanted Lake Elementary School teacher who in 1994 was entangled in a highly controversial situation where she was being forced to transfer to another school. Throughout the ordeal she remained a symbol of courage and inspiration. She fought for her right to stay at her school where she has taught at for over 27 years and won! She proved that one person can make a difference.

In 1995, the Honolulu Star Bulletin considered her one of the 10 most important people who made a difference in Hawaii because of her courage after speaking out against the system. Lena proved to many that there is justice and there should be no fear in speaking up for what is right.

With the controversy behind her, Lena has continued to teach at Enchanted Lake but soon developed a whole new interest: the Internet! She soon began to learn HTML and created one of the first web pages on the
Endangered Species in Hawaii. Lena continued her excellence in teaching with renewed energy and became Enchanter Lake's new Technology Teacher and teaches computers to an entire school of 400+ students!

Many years of teaching have not slowed down Mrs. Kanemori who lives a very active lifestyle of golfing, staying up late correcting papers or working on web pages and going to her year long T3 (telecommunication, technology
for teachers classes, so she can keep up with it all. Talking to her, you get a sense of security and a firm
direction which is a sign of a good teacher. And as always a smile that lights up the room!

To find out more about her past, present and future, we took some time to learn more about the woman, the teacher and the inspiration behind it all.

IR: At what point did you decide you wanted to become a teacher?

Lena: Actually, during the 60s there weren't too many career choices, and it just seems to be the thing to do. My mother was the one who really encouraged me to take up teaching. When I entered the University of Hawaii, I signed up for the college of liberal arts. She asked me, Why did you sign up for liberal arts?? and I said, "I don't really want to become a teacher" and she said, "SIGN UP FOR TEACHING ANYWAY!" (laughs)

I didn't even know whether or not I was good with kids because I was never around children. I guess that's why I chose the college of liberal arts because I didn't know if I would be good with young ones, but I did what my mother told me.

IR: What was your first experience in teaching?

Lena: My first experience was when I student taught for one semester at Aina Haina Elementary. When I received my grade for the semester, I got a C+ from the evaluating teacher! (laugh) I felt very depressed! (laugh) But before the end of the semester she saw that I tried very hard and decided to give me a B-! (laugh)

IR: Gee that's a better grade! (laugh)

Lena: Yes, I know! (laugh)

Lena spends most of her free time updating and adding information to her Endangered Species of Hawaii Homepage. Seen here on her Power Mac, working on some HTML.