Our Islands, Our Future

Retired teacher Ed Ginoza left the classroom 12 years ago, but continues to learn as a volunteer mentor and coach for high school students competing in math and science competitions. Ginoza served for nearly 30 years as a teacher, mostly at Maui High School where he taught math and science. Following his retirement, he stepped up to coach high-achiever science students in competitions such as the Science Bowl and the Ocean Bowl. He’s developed relationships with students he never really had when he was working in the classroom. “If you want to influence kids’ lives, you don’t get to know them in the classroom. You get to know them outside of it,” Ginoza said.

Motivated by the drive in advanced students at Maui High School, Ginoza said he uses all kinds of tools to prepare for contests including the Internet, videos and high-tech web sites. He and his students have been successful, not only in placing high or winning titles, but also in ensuring that Maui’s brightest are enrolling at the best colleges in the country. For example, Ginoza regularly writes recommendations and assists students applying to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. He said at least one student has been accepted by MIT in all but one of the 29 years he’s helped out. He said students are earning good grades and getting into good colleges because they take advantage of the technology offered to them while also studying hard. “Three hours of studying per night to them is the norm,” Ginoza said.

Aside from helping students, Ginoza works part-time as a resource teacher, helping schools with administrative reports and math improvement programs. “In some ways, teaching has come a long way,” he said. “The good part of it is that technology has come along and teachers have a lot of resources to draw on. They can actually take kids places or observe things we couldn’t do in the past,” he said, referring to videos and Internet resources. “The students are as good, if not better in some respects…Learning is never boring.”