The first student-led summit organized by leaders of various high schools across the CNMI garnered the participation of over 200 students.
This summit was a break from the standard practice, when the Public School System would organize youth summits to encourage high school students to consider where they’d like to go for college, to consider what they want to become in the future, and to empower them through keynote speakers.
This year, the student council representatives themselves organized the conference—sort of a summit for the students by the students, with the theme S.E.E (Strengthen. Educate. Empower) Yourself.
According to Mariah Cruz, the PSS student representative on the Board of Education, considering that this was a first for the student leaders, the five-hour summit ran smoothly and remained on schedule throughout the day.
It consisted of five workshops facilitated by the five participating public high schools, with guest presenters and skits in between.
Each workshop discussed issues that high school students are facing today like underage drinking, self-harm, smoking, sex education, and ways to prevent bullying.
Acting education commissioner Yvonne Pangelinan said it was an effective way to get teens learn from one another.
“There are a lot of things adults can do to intervene to help but what is most effective is to hear from somebody who has experienced things the way you have, that’s going through life the way you are, and so I think it’s a very effective means of communicating with their peers…it’s events like these where they are able to share their thoughts…” she said.
The students seemed more engaged compared to previous summits and were more comfortable during each workshop because they were able to voice their opinions freely.
Jackie Quitugua, associate education commissioner for curriculum and instruction, was impressed with the turnout.
The summit had 9th to 12th graders from Marianas High School, Saipan Southern High School, Tinian High School, Kagman High School, Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School, and Da’ok Academy.