For one Dr. Rita H. Inos Jr./Sr. High School graduate, a lot has changed since he left his school on Rota back in 2012. “During my time it was really hard to get things done because of the lack of support from the school administration,” he said.
This RHI alumnus, who asked that his name not be cited, also shared that he is happy to see what the school has come to since the merger between the junior high and high school population two years ago.
“Coming back here and seeing everyone being involved in the community through various and diverse clubs is great. I am happy the school has come to this.”
According to RHI principal Sharlene Manglona, Education Commissioner Rita Sablan visited the Rota campus last year and heard several suggestions to open up even more school clubs and organizations.
“The commissioner gave them the opportunity to have a club fair,” Manglona said.
The fair, which started last year, is held one day at the beginning of the school year where students can sign up for the clubs they want to be a part of.
“The ideas of the clubs that we now have open and available came from the students, which is something new for our school,” Manglona added.
One of the clubs featured at the school’s club fair this year is the Media Club. Adviser and teacher Daisy Barcinas said, “A lot of the kids are now interested in music and technology.”
Barcinas said that, using Career and Technical Education funding, the club has purchased several broadcasting equipment such as cameras and a green screen. She added that the club will be in charge of the school’s public announcements and news coverage.
John Burmeo, a senior, said he has so far worked on Media Club videos that promote friendship and anti-bullying. “Other than spreading good messages we are also able to show the skills we have in making videos,” he added.
A club that is going on its second year is the RHI Glee Club. Club adviser Elvira Mesngon shared that th
e club has already performed at major community and school events.
“It is really great to be a part of the Glee Club,” said sophomore Eddie Costona. “We use this as a way to show people our talents and also open up other in front of crowds.”
The Ukelele and Guitar Club is something that RHI teacher Antenille Santos said “taps into the talents of the students.” The club currently receives assistance from Felix Ribauliman from Hopwood Jr. High School and is also going on its second year.
“There are so many of the students who are gifted and we are not doing enough to tap into those talents. These kids are amazing,” Santos said. She shared that the club has already performed at several community and school events like Rota’s annual Christmas parade and show.
RHI’s Mock Trial team has also been a driving force both on Rota and Saipan. Coach Donald Manglona said “the program has helped the students a lot in terms of getting them excited about the law.”
“A lot of them have considered pursuing law after high school and it has shaped their career path,” he added.
Despite being on Rota and lacking some of the resources that students on Saipan enjoy, Manglona said the team has learned how to find alternative ways on getting the work done, such as having video teleconferences with lawyers on Saipan and using the Internet to their advantage.
The school’s Student Council, National Honor Society, JROTC, and sports teams have also had their share of successes throughout the past few years and continue to show promise.
Another program that continues to improve is the Special Education Department. Dorilyn Barcinas, head of the RHI SPED, said the program oversees 24 students in both junior high and high school and majority of them are in “inclusion”—which means the students are mixed with the general education classes and do regular school work, with some modifications and accommodations.
“That is an accomplishment,” said Barcinas, who has worked in the SPED department for six years now.
School principal Sharlene Manglona told the Saipan Tribune that the school is currently short three teachers in the areas of math and science. “It [the students’ performance on tests] really depends on what year we are in and what subjects are taught,” Manglona said.
With a diverse list of extracurricular activities now made available, Manglona sees the students “improve and improve each year” on standardized tests and their overall academic ranking as a school in the CNMI.