DMS promotes 114


Dandan Middle School. (KRIZEL TUAZON)

Dandan Middle School held a virtual promotion ceremony to honor 114 eighth graders who will soon start their high school journey. Last Tuesday, DMS posted a pre-recorded video of their virtual ceremony on YouTube and their Facebook page.

DMS principal James Sablan said in his congratulatory speech that the students’ accomplishments speak loudly. “You are the group of students that have persevered, accepted challenges, have the ability to be flexible, have the ability to listen and follow directions, and to make decisions with logic and creativity,” he said.

He said this batch of promotees are special because they have experienced and survived Typhoon Soudelor, Super Typhoon Yutu, and are now living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wish you all the best in your future roles in high school and post-high school. I know you will succeed whatever career you choose…whether you choose to be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a farmer, a parent, or just being a simple person, just be the best you can be,” Sablan said.

Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said the promotion of the 114 students is a major milestone that will be an example of grit and perseverance. “You brave students of the Marianas will forever be remembered as the class that overcame the odds, even with all the hardships our islands have faced. Remember all of the obstacles and never forget how you overcame them. Remember your hardships and never forget the spirit of never giving up,” he said.

Vice principal Reo Arriola, who did the announcement of awards, said it was saddening that he wasn’t able to see the students’ smiling faces as they receive their awards. “This year’s awarding is a bit different from the past events. It saddens me that we cannot see the surprised look and smiling faces of Tottots when they receive the awards. Recognition is a powerful way for our DMS community to continue forward even when it feels like we’re at a standstill,” Arriola said.

Gracie Reign O. Mendiola, the recipient of the Board of Education Award for having the highest GPA, said she had good memories as a middle school student and she thanked her teachers for the lessons that made an impact on her life and helped her grow as a student.

Tyana Kay M. Cepeda, Commissioner of Education awardee, said she is already looking forward to high school.

The awards given out during the DMS virtual graduation ceremony were:

• Gracie Reign O. Mendiola: Board of Education Award.
• Tyana Kay M. Cepeda: Commissioner of Education award
• Leadership Award: Danielle Kaye Formalejo
• Tottot Award: Ocean Atalig Teigita
• Most Improved Award: Ana’Lee Maria T. Aldan
• Male/Female Athletes of the Year: Casey Cassandra Cruz, and Lenard Jovic Vendiola

Subject awards

• English Language Arts: Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Math: Austin Kumagai
• Science: Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Social Studies: Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Chamorro-Carolinian Language and Heritage Studies: Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Physical Education: Tyana Kay M. Cepeda
• Leadership Corps: Gia Manahan
• Art: Johanna Mogar
• STEM: Fatima Ito
• Computer Literacy: Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Video Production: Ale’a Duenas

President’s Award for Educational Excellence (Gold)

• Phillip Anton C. Aldan
• Tyana Kay M. Cepeda
• Elyna Collette N. Deleon Guerrero
• Danielle Kaye C. Formalejo
• Gracie Reign O. Mendiola
• Oshiana Keilani S. Reyes
• Siana Dorene F. Tasi

President’s Award for Educational Achievement (Silver)

• Ava Benavente
• Shaonika Dionne C. Borja
• Ty R. Cepeda
• Casey Cassandra Cruz
• Raymond John Deleon Guerrero
• Ale’a Trinidad Duenas
• Mark Phillip Nunez Leuta
• Gia Kamille Manahan
• Johanna Mikyla Mogar
• Prashib Pandey
• Reianah Francine Porras
• Fanai Haveia Staffler
• Mica Ella Del Mundo Sune
• Kernel Bill Tagle
• Issa Gertrudes Atalig Teigita
• Oceana Dinrose Atalig Teigita
• Tiana G. Torres
• Faye R. Ubonge
• Gwyneth Manebog Yumul

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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