Friend of Youth, First STACY Award Announced

Teachers honored two individuals who support education professionals and youth in the community during the HSTA Convention today.

Hawaii island resident Virginia Brutigan Aste is the recipient of the 2015 Friend of Youth Award and Tracey Idica is the recipient of the STACY Award.

Friend of Youth Award:  Virginia Brutigan Aste

Virginia Brutigan Aste
HSTA President Wil Okabe congratulates Virginia Brautigan Aste.

“Keep at it, get your foot in the door.  It is possible,” substitute teacher and community advocate Virginia Brutigan Aste told the Convention delegates in accepting the 2015 Friend of Youth award that was presented by HSTA Youth, Human, & Civil Rights Committee Chairman James Au.

“In addition to volunteer granting writing, Virginia is an initiator and organizer,” said Susan Anderson in her nomination of Virginia.  “She spends countless hours on project and activities that impact East Hawaii Youth,” she said. 

Aste is committed to giving Hawaii Island youth safe environments to enjoy after school and on weekends and was instrumental in creating the Pahoa Skate Park in 2009.  Other projects that Virginia spearheaded as the director of the YWCA Woman’s Center include organizing a rape response team, working on domestic violence procedures and protocols with the police, and starting women’s centers with job training.

HSTA’s Youth, Human and Civil Rights Committee created the Friend of Youth Award to recognize an outstanding individual who impacts the youth of Hawaii through involvement in youth-oriented activities outside of his/her professional duties, time and service and the use of facilities, resources, and equipment.

First STACY Award:  Tracey Idica


Tracey Idica
HSTA Secretary-Treasuer Colleen Pasco, Tracey Idica, Joan Kamila Lewis, Les Murashige.

‘Stacy would be humbled and honored and a little bit embarrassed to know an award was named after her, “ said her husband Les Murashige.  “She had a strong passion for education,” he said in presenting the first STACY award to National Board Certified Aiea High School teacher Tracey Idica.

After attending an NEA Pacific Regional leadership conference, “Stacy led me to dream.  She planted the seeds for me to see what we can do as teachers,” Idica tearfully told the Convention delegates.  As a result, Idica secured a National Board of Professional Teachers Standards grant to create the HSTA affiliate of the NBPTS to advance the teaching professional in Hawaii.  Idica was the first teacher from Aiea High School to receive National Board Certification.  She has served as a Candidate Support Provider for the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board to assist other teachers though the National Board process.  She was part of the team that brought WEA’s “Jump Start” program to Hawaii, giving Hawaii teachers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the National Board process.

As an English teacher, Idica worked with the Advanced Placement Incentive Program (APIP) to further diversify the school’s AP courses.  Idica is also an advisor of Aiea High School’s “Helping Hearts” Big Brother and Big Sisters, a club she founded with one of her students that helps to develop lasting relationships between high school students and at-risk elementary school children.

“HSTA’s Teachers Excellence Award will honor forever the work essence of all things that were Stacy Nishina,” said HSTA Vice President Joan Kamila Lewis.  Nishina was a former teacher and HSTA deputy director.

The STACY Award celebrates the outstanding work of Hawaii public school teachers. The acronym, STACY Award, stands for Scholarship, Teaching, Advocacy, Community and Youth. Recipients of this Award show scholarship through engaging experiences to improve his or her own practice and commitment to professional development, teaching through demonstration of instruction expertise, leadership and creativity and advocacy through advancement of the teaching profession as an active and vocal union member. Recipients of the STACY Award also show their appreciation to the community through interaction with parents and community members regarding substantive education issues. They work toward helping youth by developing learning environments that fit the needs of Hawaii’s students. The award recipient will be Hawaii’s candidate for the National Education Association’s (NEA) Teaching Excellence Award.

Posted April 24, 2015 4:20 p.m.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) surprised English teacher Tracey Idica at Aiea High School with five Chromebooks for her class in recognition of the STACY Award.