HONOLULU - A Hawaii teacher was awarded a $100,000 grant in a surprise award ceremony during a school-wide assembly Tuesday morning. 

Niu Valley Middle School and music teacher, Zach Morita, was given the money as part of Farmers Insurance annual Thank America’s Teachers Dream Big Program.  

Morita’s winning proposal:

  • Plans to establish the “Niu Valley Music Olympic Invitational,” 
  • A statewide competition for student musicians.

"The goal is to provide my students the opportunity to see other student musicians from across the state, and also to give underprivileged students an opportunity to also compete with schools that may have more funding. So a portion of the funds will go to purchase quality instruments for lower income areas in Hawaii."

Dozens of proposals from teachers were submitted across the U.S. -- Morita is one of five recipients who won.