Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Feb 2019 12am







    Wednesday, February 20, 2019-8:07:28A.M.






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A Million Dollar Scholar from Rota

ROBERTA Maratita is the first Million Dollar Scholar from Rota to pursue higher education in the states.

Roberta Maratita

The 18-year-old, along with 14 other Million Dollar Scholars  from Saipan, will begin their freshman year of college this fall.

“In the beginning of the school year when [the MDS program] was introduced to my high school, I was hesitant about becoming a member,” Maratita said.

But, she said, being an MDS impacted her education in a positive way, so she is glad she chose to become a member.

“My initial decision was to go to the University of Guam because it was close to home, and there would be no major financial strain on my parents,” she said. “My teachers tried to convince me to go beyond the islands for school, but I didn’t know if I could make it happen.”

She said it was MDS founder Gerard van Gils and her MDS high school mentor, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Parenteau, who encouraged her to apply for college in the states.

Maratita said she made the decision to go to the states when van Gils informed her she was accepted to Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. This is the first year BSU has partnered with MDS to offer in-state tuition to Million Dollar Scholars. BSU will have the largest cohort of MDS students at 22 students by this fall, all eligible for in-state tuition and financial-aid packages.

“Education is a very powerful tool,” Maratita said. “Education is the only way to see past the coconut trees and oceans of my island.”

Maratita said she’d like to see others on her island become MDS members and pursue higher education in the states to broaden their horizons as it did hers, and thanks van Gils and Parenteau for their assistance in the process.

Maratita graduated from Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Jr./Sr. High School with a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue a bachelor of science degree in psychology, and a master’s degree with an emphasis in clinical psychology to become a clinical psychologist in the CNMI.