Mount Carmel School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero was brought to tears when the entire student body, teachers, and staff at MCS decided to give him a surprise tribute on Thursday to thank him for his services as school president for the past two years.
Three-hundred-fifty-some students from kindergarten to 12th grade made banners, read poems, wrote letters, and sang to Guerrero, with the help of Bobby Baldazo, the school’s vice president of curriculum and instruction.
According to Baldazo, the National Catholic Schools’ President Appreciation Day on Thursday is not celebrated locally.
“The event is not recognized here on Saipan so we wanted to honor Mr. Guerrero and surprise him,” Baldazo said.
He has worked with Guerrero for the past 11 years and describes him as a “great leader.”
“He knows how to empower people and that is something that needs to be done in every organization,” Baldazo added.
Guerrero became president of Mount Carmel School only last school year. He was recently renewed by the school’s board to continue in that capacity for the next two years.
Since last school year, Mount Carmel has seen a 32-percent increase in student enrollment, a faculty and staff salary increase, and improved academic performance of students in standardized tests such as the PSAT, SAT, and AP course exams.
The school was recently accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement through AdvancED.
But improving tests scores and empowering students are not the only things Guerrero is known for by his staff and students at Mount Carmel. Fifth-grader Brandee Hunter said that she comes to school every day because of Guerrero.
“He helps our school in so many ways and we can all see that he really, really cares about us,” Hunter said.
Guerrero was flabbergasted and was misty-eyed at the surprise the students and staff gave him. He told the Saipan Tribune that he was “extremely humbled and honored”
“I love all the students here and I love this school. Building on the success of my predecessors we have really improved in academics and in our curriculum, but the one thing that I feel really different is that there is so much more school spirit now,” Guerrero said. “I genuinely feel that the students here feel like we do care for them because you can’t learn unless you feel like someone is there for you and someone cares for you. The fact that they want to be here is amazing.”
School counselor Tobed Smith has worked with Guerrero for the past two years and described him as “empowering.”
“He really is a great leader and I am glad to be a part of his team. I hope he feels that we appreciate his time and efforts on a daily basis,” Smith said.
Junior student William Camacho echoed this. “He deserves to be recognized. He is a really hard worker and sometimes his efforts go unnoticed and today was a tribute to him. He is a great principal. This is only my second year at MCS and I have experienced other schools and the way he gets everyone to be involved and get things done is inspiring and unforgettable.” (Thomas Manglona II)