A recently published book tells the story of Commonwealth events that took place before the Northern Marianas College came to be and the state of education in the CNMI during the Trust Territory days.
Penned by Ivan Propst, the book, titled, Perseverance and Grit: The Contributions of Agnes M. McPhetres to Education Across the Pacific, highlights the role McPhetres played in pushing for an educated CNMI.
Propst spoke about the book during last week’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Giovanni’s restaurant of Hyatt Regency Saipan.
“We don’t have enough of our history here in our community recorded. We need to record what we can,” he said, noting that the book highlights CNMI education and how it came to be. “It needs to be put in print so that future generations can just read about it.”
According to Propst, even McPhetres was surprised to go over what she had accomplished when she was asked to check the book for accuracy.
“I even prompted her memory of the things she has done and forgotten about, so it’s nice to have it in print,” he said. “She needs recognition for all that she has done.”
Propst said it took him about a year to complete the book, including all the research and interviews.
“This book is a record of what happened to education during the three types of educational systems,” said McPhetres in an interview.
That means a little bit of the Trust Territory days of the CNMI, about NMC “because I was there at the time,” and the Public School System, where McPhetres was an associate superintendent.
About the start of NMC, McPhetres said it was a real challenge—”no place to go, no classrooms, no furniture—nothing. The Legislature [at the time] thought college was a luxury.”
Those interested in getting a copy of the book may head to the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, the NMC Library, or the Northern Marianas Trades Institute. The book costs $10 each. Proceeds of the book, according to Propst, would support wherever the book is purchased.