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    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:37:11A.M.






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BOE, PSS celebrate Education Month

PUBLIC School System teachers and staff, including those from Tinian and Rota, joined together in the culmination of the Education Month celebration at Hopwood Middle School on Wednesday.

This year’s theme is “Education ignites you; passion motivates you; success awaits you,” which was the entry of Danika Atalig, a fourth grader at Oleai Elementary School and the Education Month theme winner.

This year’s Education Month logo winner is Prince Muniz, an 8th grader from Dandan Middle School, while the Education Month essay winners are Tolia Quitugua, a 6th grader at Sinapalo Elementary School, and Destiny Pangelinan, a 6th grader at Hopwood Middle School.

Board of Education Chairwoman MaryLou Ada told the teachers and staff of the 23 public schools gathered at Hopwood, “You are the heart and soul of the public schools.”

She added, “I know the parents are very proud and happy because they are getting the best education [for their children]. Today is your day. You’re the ones who make a difference. Thank you for all your hard work. I know it takes a lot of commitment, dedication, compassion, persistence and perseverance. Consider yourselves very important persons in our lives.”

Danika Atalig wins this year’s Education Month Theme Award. Her entry: “Education ignites you; passion motivates you; success awaits you.”

Prince Muniz tops the Education Month Logo Contest.

According to acting Education Commissioner Glenn Muna, this was one of the biggest if not the biggest Education Month celebration so far.

He said for the past 29 years, PSS had gone through many changes. “We’ve gone from chalk-board to smart-board, from open windows to air-conditioned rooms, from traditional learning to blended learning to online learning, and from limited community-based collaboration to global partnerships. We’ve gone from a one-size-fits-all model to differentiated instruction to meet the unique needs of our students. From centralized leadership to shared and inclusive leadership.”

He said the school system’s most important achievement is supporting and watching “our students achieve amazing success — many have gone on to earn advanced degrees and some have been accepted at prestigious universities like MIT and Harvard, while others have earned high ranks in the Army and hold leadership positions in the Navy and the Air Force.”

Muna said “we have gone from not believing that we can compete on a national scale to winning national competitions in fine arts, science, mathematics, engineering and technology — these successes are ours together, all of us.”

He said no other government agency in the CNMI can match the resilience of PSS. “Despite the changes, we continue to remain focused on our mission and we continue to serve our children. We persevere because the lives of the children in our care are too precious to give up on. As we move into our 30th year of celebrating public education, we will continue to stand together, overcome challenges together and continue to give the children of the CNMI our best together.”

Tolia Quitugua is one of the winners in the Education Month Essay Contest.

Destiny Pangelinan is the other Education Month Essay Contest winner.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, who joined the celebration, thanked the teachers and staff of PSS for their work and sacrifices.

First lady Diann Torres, a former educator, said in the past, “each school had their own little celebration during Education Month.” She said she’s glad that BOE and PSS held a big celebration this year.

U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan said teachers and staff at PSS are very important for the growth and prosperity of the community.

“Teachers are amazing and education is my first priority in the U.S. House,” Kilili said in an interview.

All the public schools and the central office performed dance numbers. Each school also introduced its Teacher of the Year, Instructor of the Year, Teacher Aide of the Year, Counselor of the Year, Librarian of the Year, Trades and Maintenance of the Year, Pupil Transportation Staff of the Year, and Administrative Support Staff of the Year.