A total of 21 cadets were officially sworn in during the Division of Customs Services 7th cycle academy graduation ceremony yesterday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.
According to Customs director Jose Mafnas, many may think that joining the academy is easy but not everyone who enters makes it to graduation.
He said the fact that the original 7th cycle class finished the course together makes him, as an instructor, proud.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who was present at the ceremony, said it was the biggest graduating class in the history of the Division of Customs Services.
He said that Customs Service is the Commonwealth’s frontline of defense and it is extremely important that the officers are passionate about their roles to ensure safety for the entire CNMI.
“Like I emphasized, they are the front of our border so the more they are vigilant and aggressive in finding drugs or contraband, the easier it is for our officers on the streets…the easier it is for our community,” said Torres. “I congratulate those who are participating and have graduated here today in the field of custom officers. It’s a big deal for us and it’s a great success for our economy, and for our people here.”
Cadet Maelyn Naputi was the 7th cycle’s valedictorian and was also on the Top 5 for her exemplary performance.
“There were a lot of things I learned but there are a lot of things I am still going to learn,” she said. “Everybody made it easier, the instructors and everyone at Customs. They made it easier for us to learn new things and I am excited for what is ahead.”
Naputi said the journey was difficult and it required a lot of work, especially teamwork, but it was not an issue for her class, resulting in them completing the academy together.
“It was a long journey. Thirteen weeks of hard work but we did it. I worked well with the other cadets and we successfully completed it as a team,” she said.
Naputi said her goal now is to become the best possible Customs officer she can be.
The salutatorian of the 7th cycle academy, cadet Jesseleo Ogo, was also on the Top 5 for exemplary performance.
The academy’s Top Gun was awarded to McKnox Mabel, who was also on the Top 5 for showing exemplary performance during the academy.
The two other cadets on the Top 5 list were cadets Wai Lun Guan and Paul Anthony Quizon.
The rest of the graduating class were Raymond Peter DLC Cabrera, Shota N. Castro, Jessica Deleon Guerrero, Jesus Iguel, Nicole Juliet Kapileo, Franklin Lizama, Harry Nakamura, Christian Anthony Pangelinan, Eddie Joe Pangelinan, Kristen Pangelinan, Elden Sablan, Franklin Sablan, Jocelyn Sonia Taitingfong, Mark Tuan-Iam, Rico Vince DLG Villagomez, and Justine Zapanta.