Of the 315 graduates of Marianas High School’s Class of 2017, valedictorian Robert Jomar S. Malate is preparing to begin his college life at Harvard University this fall semester.
Malate, who also applied to several Ivy League schools, was accepted at the University of Evansville, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Seattle University.
“I am really trying to spend some time with my friends, have fun in the island, and really preparing myself for the challenges up ahead,” he said during an interview after the MHS graduation last Tuesday on campus grounds.
Malate would be pursuing a mechanical engineering degree at Harvard.
Malate said he wanted to keep learning, and that the only way he sees himself learning constantly is through college.
“I expect a lot of struggle; I expect a lot of hard work; I expect a lot of loneliness; I expect to meet a lot of new friends; and learn a lot of new things,” Malate said.
Having thought of pursuing a mechanical engineering degree since his sophomore year, Malate owes it to joining the MHS’ Aeronautical Dolphins team, claiming that working hard for the team showed him he had the “passion for engineering.”
“I just feel everything is being rushed. I wish time can stop [or] slow down so I can enjoy the moment but this moment is fast and I just want to move on,” said Malate, describing the graduation as one of his greatest moments in life.
MHS salutatorian Yuuki Nishida, who also received the Governor’s Leadership Award and the Lt. Governor’s Academic Award along with Malate, is seeking to pursue a degree in journalism at Massachusetts’ Northeastern University.
Expecting to leave late August, Nishida is looking forward to a whole new experience of internships in the mainland.
“[I am expecting] to experience a little cooperative education and hopefully find a job immediately after I graduate; maybe sometime [after], come back here and contribute to the community,” said Nishida when asked about his future plans.
MHS principal Cherlyn Cabrera proudly congratulated the MHS Class of 2017.
“I am just so excited for them; I celebrate with them,” she said.
“This group is innovative; they want to try new things; they are unafraid and ready to go out into the world and do awesome things. I am excited for them, and I give them all my love and my congratulations; it has been an honor to [have served] as their principal,” she said.
The MHS Class of 2017 keynote speaker, MHS alumnae Sonya Dancoe, left the students with a quote worth remembering.
“By treating each and every single human being with dignity and respect, you can make a difference and make this world a better place,” she said in her speech.