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    Wednesday, October 23, 2019-2:15:55A.M.






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MYPros celebrates 3rd year, recognizes 4 individuals 

IN celebrating its third anniversary on Saturday at the Hyatt, the Marianas Young Professionals or MYPros also recognized and honored four individuals “who have done amazing work for the CNMI.”

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Athlete and Koblerville Elementary School teacher Bonny Cruz is the first recipient of MYPros’ “The Crank” Award.

In the past, MYPros recognized has three young individuals in different categories: Volunteer of the Year, the Spotlight Award and Young Professional of the Year.

This year, MYPros introduced another award  named  after MYPros director and CNMI professional mixed martial arts athlete Frank “The Crank” Camacho.

The first recipient of The Crank Award is an athlete herself, Koblerville Elementary School teacher Bonny Cruz.

“This young professional is a passionate educator and athlete,” MYPros founder and vice president Nola Hix said. “She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and currently serves the CNMI Public School System. She has represented the Marianas in outrigger canoeing and weightlifting, garnering top accolades in both sports. What makes this individual’s professional and athletic success so profound is that she is a stroke and heart surgery survivor. Her traumatic circumstances left her paralyzed and bedridden for a time in her life. But she never stopped fighting to recover, and today she is thriving. She’s a literally one of the strongest women in Micronesia both mentally and physically. Best of all, she’s friendly and humble.”

In an interview, Cruz said she was not expecting to receive an award. “I came to support MYPros and my brother [Dr. Bobby Cruz] who is a member of the board. This is unexpected, but I am very appreciative of the acknowledgement.”

Bonny Cruz is a member of an all-women outrigger canoe team, the Marianas Pacific Paddlers.

She and her team competed in the 2017 Micro Cup hosted by Guam, winning gold in the 1,000-meter sprint and placing 5th place in the 500-meter sprint.

“On July 25, 2018, my team and I competed in Olympic weightlifting heats, representing the CNMI in the 2018 Micronesian Games hosted by Yap,” Bonny Cruz said. She won three gold medals.

“More importantly, I hit new personal records in the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. Achieving a personal best is the most rewarding feeling, in my opinion,” Bonny Cruz added.

In addition, she is a PADI-certified scuba diver. 

Ten years ago, she underwent open-heart surgery. “There was a time in my life when I was told that I would not be able to do certain things. But it never stopped me. If anything, that was my driving force to do my best. I told myself I would be the best version of myself,” she said.

Besides teaching at Koblerville Elementary School, Bonny Cruz is also a member of the leadership team at KoEs and an instructor in the Educational Technology Program which serves educators in the CNMI. “It provides tools that can be used to implement instructional technology in the classroom to enhance the learning experience.”

In May this year, Bonny Cruz earned her master’s degree in international teaching through Framingham State University. She plans to pursue a doctorate in education.

“Receiving The Crank Award is an honor,” she said. “Frank Camacho has exemplified the essential quality of great leadership and perseverance. I’m so grateful to the Marianas Young Professionals for acknowledging my achievements, and I’m honored to have received the award.”

This year’s Volunteer of the Year Award went to Brent Deleon Guerrero, brand coordinator of Docomo Pacific.  The Spotlight Award went to Monique Sablan, workforce program coordinator/public information officer of the CNMI Scholarship Office while James Lee, Marpac Distributors sales manager, was named Young Professional of the Year

“MYPros wants to acknowledge young professionals in our community,” its executive director Gerard Van Gils said. “They are doing amazing work. There are so many people that are doing great things in the Commonwealth and our organization wants to highlight them.”

MYPros awardees Bonny Cruz, Monique Sablan and Brent Deleon Guerrero pose with other nominees and MYPros board of directors and officers.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. LirioMYPros awardees Bonny Cruz, Monique Sablan and Brent Deleon Guerrero pose with other nominees and MYPros board of directors and officers. Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

He said MYPros is a community nonprofit group focusing on helping “young people become tomorrow’s young professionals and helping them to be tomorrow’s leaders.”