Kagman High School bestowed its highest academic excellence awards yesterday on two of its outstanding students—Ezra Lizama and Jace Pineda—who emerged as this year’s class valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
Along with his parent and guardians, Lizama received the prestigious Board of Education award after being named top of the graduating class. Lizama, the son of Shirley and the late Ben Lizama, was also the recipient of six other special awards.
Pineda, the class salutatorian and recipient of the Commissioner of Education Award for 2014, is the daughter of Elmer and Tess Pineda. Like Lizama, Pineda was also presented with five other special awards, including outstanding female graduate.
In their joint address before hundreds of spectators and guests, Lizama and Pineda honored their parents, guardians, teachers, and loved ones.
In an interview with Saipan Tribune, Pineda said she plans to enroll at Northern Marianas College before transferring to the University of Guam to pursue biology and then on to the United States to become a doctor.
Lizama, meantime, will be flying soon to the U.S. mainland to pursue computer science.
KHS conferred diplomas to 141 seniors in a ceremony with the theme “Keeping true to the dreams of our youth.”
This year’s Top Ten awardees are Lizama, Pineda, Michaelle Marie Muña, Justin Arangorin, Nonglak Kapileo, Kristine Marie Babauta, Mona Monique Indalecio, Lou Shrine Guevarra, Dorothy Jebehn, and Andrea Juanette Camacho.
Lt. Gov. Jude U. Hofschneider and members of the Legislature bestowed the prestigious Governor’s Leadership Award on Kristine Marie Babauta, while the Principal’s Award went to Lorielyn Monica Lacay.
The Board of Education and the Public School System presented the Service Recognition Award on Michaelle Marie Muña for serving as the students’ representative on the education board.
Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan disclosed yesterday that all 141 graduates of KHS this year are the same number of students who entered the school some four years ago.
In this year’s batch of graduates, 95 have been accepted to college and universities, she said. Twenty-nine of them have confirmed going to college off-island. A large number this year also made the decision to join the military and 26 of them are ready to go.
Based on the school’s exit polls, 13 students want to work after graduation, while 17 are undecided about their plans after graduation.
According to KHS principal Leila Staffler, this year’s batch of graduates has also been very productive as they logged a combined 6,000-plus hours of community service.
Also, three seniors finished before the fourth quarter; five juniors are graduating early; and several students already have been offered jobs because of their participation in the Cooperative Program.
Yesterday’s commencement rites was keynoted by teacher Gerard VanGills and was graced by members of the Legislature and education officials.