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    Monday, October 14, 2019-8:37:46A.M.






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GES students’ documentary wins award in international competition

FIVE Garapan Elementary School students won an award in an international competition for their documentary about a World War II hero.

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Fourth grade teachers Peter Loken poses with students Edward Becina, Aiden Camacho, Cody Gamboa, Jed Gilboy and Shane Manicad.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

The students — Edward Becina, Aiden Camacho, Cody Gamboa, Jed Gilboy, and Shane Manicad — won $1,000 for their documentary, “Guy Gabaldon: The Pied Piper of Saipan,” which was named the Outstanding International Project in the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes’ 2019 Discovery Award competition.

The event is sponsored by the Kansas-based Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes to encourage creative research projects that uncover the stories of positive role models, or unsung heroes, whose impact on history remains largely unknown.

A non-profit organization, the Lowell Milken Center. has a museum dedicated for unsung heroes.

GES teacher Peter Loken said his students worked for about six months in conducting research and interviews, writing a script and editing their documentary.

“Every year the Lowell Milken Center looks for people that have done something amazing that not many people have heard about,” Loken said, adding that the center contacted him in 2015 and informed him about the competition.

But Typhoon Soudelor hit Saipan in August of that year, devastating the island.

“I was not able to do anything then. But when we were kind of settled in, I decided it would be a really fun and educational way for the kids to learn about our island, and also to share that with the rest of the world,” Loken said.

Initially, he said the documentary about Guy Gabaldon was a class project. As a class, the students interviewed people and went on field trips.

However, the competition guidelines stated that only a maximum of five participants were allowed per entry.

So Loken selected the students who had been participating actively and were really interested in the project.

“It was around January that we got things kicked off.,” he said. “We interviewed Gabaldon’s family. We went to the museum and we did some internet research.”

They also gathered other materials, including photos, and used the iMovie app to produce the documentary, Loken said.

The entry was sent in June, and the winners were announced on Sept. 17.

The GES students’ “strong multimedia skills” were noted by the Lowell Milken Center.

According to the media release that announced the competition winners, “Guy Gabaldon was a U.S. soldier stationed on Saipan during World War II. He used his ability to speak Japanese to help the U.S. capture Japanese soldiers by convincing them that they were surrounded. He also used his linguistic skills to stop many Japanese people from jumping off Banzai Cliff. His actions led to the capture of 1,500 Japanese soldiers and saved countless lives.”