News from Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai

A 501(c)(3) Foundation

Meet Our Fall 2023 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to introduce our latest award recipients: Chandlyn Harada, Marina Folsom, and Chazlyn Harada. Yes, we have twins -- both finishing their Masters Degrees and becoming teachers at the Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School in Lihue. all three of these young women have the skills and commitment to help their students excel!

They have worked hard to achieve their goals of being credentialed teachers to our Kauai keiki and we are invested in their success.

Like all our recipients, they have come highly recommended from their teachers and mentors. We wish them great success in the achievement

of their goals.

Spotlight on...

Jennifer Hreljac

We thought our readers would like to know what kinds of rewards and challenges face our new teachers, so we asked one of our past recipients to give us an idea of her day-to-day classroom experiences.

Here's what Jennifer told us about her experiences as a teacher:

1. What grade level(s) are you teaching and at what school? 

I am fortunate to be teaching STEM at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. I have been working at this school since 2014 and was able to become a certified teacher with the help of GOOTOK and I-Teach.

2. What is the most important thing you've learned from having a classroom of your own?

Having a classroom of my own taught me to be more mindful of the individual challenges the students of today face. Being there for my students is one way I support my class, which can help the children feel valued.

3. What motivates you in your day-to-day teaching activities?

My motivation comes from the looks on their faces and the responses coming out of their mouths once they grasp the concept. With a hands-on subject like STEM, instant gratification comes once the student has correctly coded, built, or programmed the task.

4. What does a typical day in the classroom look like for you?

I greet my students as they enter my room. Once I see they have all arrived, we discuss the Learning Incentives for the day. Next we discuss how the Standards will help them succeed in the real world and I let them know the Target GLO of the day. After that, we move on to the lesson involving some kind of technology, ie. Spheros, Virtual Reality, Microbits, 3-D printing…etc. During the lesson, the students learn how to use the tech by hands-on application. We talk with partners in groups and as a class throughout the session. Upon completion, students recap what they have learned along with the challenges and successes they encountered.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences as a teacher? 

It is quite time consuming, but extremely rewarding.

Boogie Shoes 70s Dance Party

Our Summer Fundraiser

We decided to do something a little different this year and have a dance party to raise funds for our future scholarship recipients. We went with a "Boogie Shoes 70s Dance Party" theme. All who attended had a great time and we learned a lot about throwing a dance party!

We had a costume contest for Best 70s Couple and Best 70s Costume, a photo booth, and classic 70s music by DJ Mike Dandurand! We were fortunate to have the Kauai Philippine Cultural Center available as our venue.

Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing, mingling, and fun! The DJ music and food were exceptional. We also want to thank our donors of various beverages: Kauai Beer Company, Menehune Water, Koloa Rum Co., Kauai Coffee, Odom Corp., and Kauai Ice Co

Ira Lapitan - District Teacher of Promise

We want to congratulate one of our past scholarship recipients! Ira Lapitan showed us that spark she carries, making her a wonderful teacher. That spark continues to grow. Way to go, Ira! What a wonderful accomplishment!

Application Deadline for Spring 2024

If you are a student teacher, or you know someone who is, the deadline to file an application for funding is November 30, 2023

Get started early because you will need letters of recommendation from your mentors or program supervisors and they may be difficult to reach so close to the end of the semester. 

Don't delay! Check out our application page to see the documents required to submit with your application.

We want to help! Email your questions to

Kauai Fact

What does the name Kauai mean? In the Hawaiian language, “ka” means "the," “ua” means "rain," and “i” means "place." So, it translates to “the rainy place.” Kauai is often referred to as the "Garden Island" because it is filled with exotic beautiful plants and flowers wherever you look.

Our Recent Donors

We rely on our donors to help us continue our mission and help students finish their schooling. We want to send out a huge mahalo to our recent donors:

  • Ken and LInda Garrett
  • Peter and Dottie Sievert
  • Rebecca Fries
  • Michael Bill
  • Mary Larbidizal
  • Janice Nitta
  • Donna Staartz
  • Koloa Rum
  • Hawaii Hotel Industry Foundation
  • Kauai Dental Lab
  • The Club at Kukuiula Community Benefit Fund
  • Cuzzins 808
  • Dr. B's Birthday Fundraiser

Thank you all for helping our student teachers realize their dreams!

Help a Student Teacher

Growing Our Own Teachers on Kauai (GOOTOK) is dedicated to assisting Kauai's aspiring Preschool and K-12 school teachers. Through these trying times, we remain focused on this mission just as Kauai's student teachers remain focused on completing their credential and/or degree programs. 

Thanks to our generous donors and volunteers, we have been able to provide $34,200 in scholarships so far this year to help deserving students complete their teacher training. 

We provide scholarships to help our aspiring teacher candidates pay for some of their expenses during their final student teaching semester. For more information, go to our website at Please consider making a donation to help these worthy students!   


We are always looking for people who want to give their time, talent, and treasure! If you want to be a part of our foundation, please contact us.


P.O. Box 1117

Kalaheo, Hawaii 96741