The Marianas High School POLKSAI Chamorro Club swept the 2016 Inacha’igen Fino Chamorro Language Competition in Guam. It was the club’s 11th time to compete in this event. It was a great success as the team garnered the following awards:
-1st – Speech (Luis Cepeda)
-1st – Poetry (Karen Agulto)
-1st -Female Singer (Monica Lizama)
-2nd-Male Singer (Jesse Sablan)
-1st – Proficiency (Kena Muna),
-2nd-Proficiency (Monica Lizama)
-3rd – Proficiency (Jack Nicholas Rabago)
-1st – Song with Dance (Karen Agulto, Monica Lizama, Jeszerre Seman, Ninfa Rabago, Jose Carreon, Luis Cepeda, Christopher Jay Terlaje, Almondo Franco Santos, Jack Nicholas Rabago, Jesse Sablan)
-1st – Dramatical Interpretation Skit (Joshalyn Flores, Christian Ayuyu, Jimmy Santos, Kierah Lee, Marianna Teregeyo, Jessa Sonoda, Jack Nicholas Rabago, Jenalien Jonathan, Kena Muna, Jesse Sablan)
-1st – Kantan Chamorrita (Kierah Lee, Monica Lizama, Ninfa Rabago, Jose Carreon, Jack Nicholas Rabago, Almondo Franco Santos, Jimmy Santos, Christopher Jay Terlaje, Isa Cabrera, Ciprianna Songao)
Anita Sablan, the club advisor and coach commented, “the 2016 Inacha’igen Chamorro Language Competition was a success as our team garnered seven gold, two silver, and a bronze. The 2016 Inacha’igen Fino Chamorro Theme is I FINO’ CHAMORU: I Guiniahå-ta, Iyo-ta, Ta Fanana’I (The CHamoru Language: Our Abundance and Ours to Share With One Another). All the categories that they competed in focused and emphasized on the theme.”
Since 2003, POLKSAI Chamorro Club has been competing in this annual Chamorro language competition.
Sablan said participation in this annual event requires numerous fundraising and long hours of practice. In the end, the members embraced their experience because it gives them the opportunity to practice their language and perpetuate their culture.
The advisors and coaches would like to thank the participants’ respective families for supporting their child and the community supporters for their monetary contribution: Public School System, Rep. Angel Demapan, Rep. Edmund Villagomez, Rep. BJ Attao, Rep. Anthony Benavente, Rep. Edwin Propst, Rep. Ralph Yumul, Rep. Roman Benavente, Rep. Francis Taimanao, BOMAT, Lucky R Catering, St. Jude Renal Care, Quickprint, Supreme Justices Dinner Performance at PIC, and many others.
“Without your financial support, our club would not have made it to Guam to compete in this event. MHS POLKSAI Chamorro Club would also like to thank Senot Luis John Castro for his support by being the dance instructor for the group. This will be the fourth year in a roll that the team garnered 1st Place for Song with Dance under his direction. They sincerely thank you for your dedication,” said Sablan.
When asked about the meaning and vision of the club, Alvin Sablan, club advisor and coach, first shared the acronym for POLKSAI. He said the acronym stands for Protehi, Onra, Lengguahi, Kutturan Sa’ipan, Ataha Inasan Chamorro. POLKSAI means to protect and honor the language and culture of Saipan and to prevent the disappearance of the Chamorro culture. POLKSAI Chamorro Club was formed in 2002 with the vision of its founder, the late Lumi R. Bermudes, of perpetuating the language and culture of the Marianas indigenous people. MHS POLKSAI will forever keep the vision and purpose of this club and would like to thank Bermudes for inspiring and supporting the club.
Because of their hard work, commitment, and dedication, the MHS POLKSAI was prepared for this competition. Some of the preparation involved the club members writing a song for the Kantan Chamorrita event, writing a skit for the Dramatic Interpretation event, memorizing and reciting a poem provided by the organizing committee, creating a medley using J.J. Concepcion’s songs for a song with dance event, writing, memorizing, and reciting a speech with the help of Bermudes, and practicing selected songs for the male and female singing event. As for the proficiency, students need to understand, read, and speak the Chamorro language.
“Congratulations MHS POLKSAI Chamorro club—continue to speak the language and perpetuate your culture,” said Alvin Sablan.
MHS POLKSAI Chamorro would also like to honor its late founder Bermudes for inspiring them to perpetuate the Chamorro culture and to speak the Chamorro language.
Members also shared their experience during the tilt.
“I got the opportunity to compete in the Dramatic Interpretation (skit) category in which I had to speak Chamorro and sang a Chamorro song as a group for the Kantan Chamorrita event. It was a great experience for me because I learned how to sing a Chamorrita Song, which was popular before our island became conquered. I sacrifice a lot of my time and I feel it was worthwhile because I learned a lot about the Chamorro language and culture,” said Kierah Lee.
Luis Cepeda also stated, “This was my second time competing. I competed last year for the speech and garnered fourth place but this year I won first place. I also competed in the song with dance category, where I placed first. I love dancing. Through dancing, I learned a great deal about the ancient Chamorro and the motivation to continue to perpetuate the Chamorro culture.”
Joshalyn Flores also recounted her experience during the Dramatic Interpretation competition.
“I was the grandma in the skit. Our skit was inspired from Typhoon Soudelor where technology distracted the teenagers from helping around the house and practicing one’s culture. Typhoon took place and with that it brought the family together—learning the culture and survival skills. I enjoyed the many hours of practicing because it let to victory,” she said.
Almondo Franco, for his part, said he will savor the recent completion because it’s his last.
“This is my third year competing and will be last time because I am graduating this year. The first year I joined the club and competed it was a new atmosphere and learning experience of the Chamorro language and culture. We garnered a lot of awards and it continued to this year’s competition. I enjoyed all those years of competing and being a part of the MHS POLKSAI Chamorro Club.”