TOGETHER, WE CAN
Hafa adai yan tirow woomi from Marianas High School!
On April 19, Marianas High School was the top winner of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers’ Marianas Village Pride contest, winning $15,000. It was such a pleasant surprise for MHS to win the top prize! It was a collective effort, which was achieved by our entire school community. We thank GCEA and all the MVP sponsors who made this possible.
Since the announcement, I’ve had many people ask me how I felt about our school winning the $15,000 and how we will spend it. I will be working with my leadership team to be strategic in maximizing every cent to reinvest in our school and our students. I am looking forward to seeing the projects that we will launch very soon.
It’s important to note that in addition to participating in all the contests, we won this prize because we earned points for every hour our volunteers cleaned, painted, and refurbished the medians and sidewalks. MHS completed three projects—refurbishing the curbs and the bus stop at Commissioner Joaquin S. Tudela Community Park in San Vicente and the medians in front of Marianas Visitors Authority’s office.
We received tremendous satisfaction knowing that we contributed to the beautification of our island. Our students learned the value of being of service to our island, their school, and each other. They also learned that they could make a difference by making a commitment, showing up, and getting to work. I am very proud of their hard work and enthusiasm to participate. The activities were also good bonding and team-building exercises. Although the contest period has ended, I encourage all schools and groups throughout the CNMI to adopt a median, sidewalk, bus stop, or parking lot in your village. If we all do our part, we will see a significant improvement in the beauty and cleanliness of our islands.
Pride in our villages
Another secret to our success is that our school—from the administrators and staff to our students—embodied the MVP values and started to take more pride in our school.
I am happy to see this reinvigorated effort in reinvesting in our communities through our people. The concept of village pride is not new to the Marianas. There is a storied history to every village, and many families have roots that run deep in our villages. Pride in our heritage and culture is inherent in Pacific Islander cultures. We are proud of where we come from.
One of the MVP contests provided the opportunity for us to discuss what it means to be proud of where we are from. The MVP Village Flag Art Contest allowed our students to take notice of their villages’ unique histories, traditions, flora, fauna, diversity, and lineages. According to GCEA, MHS showed strong participation with more than 800 entries.
It was truly a community effort. I thank our team for dedicating classroom time to this important conversation and activity, and I congratulate the 22 students whose art was selected to inspire the new village flags. These flags, 35 in total, represent all villages on Rota, Tinian, and Saipan and will be unveiled during the Pacific Mini Games’ opening ceremony. They will be proudly carried by athletes representing the Marianas. When you support the games this summer, look out for the new village flags. We can all be proud that students throughout the Marianas had a direct hand in this effort.
Be a part of MVP 2.0
MHS looks forward to the new MVP programs later this year. GCEA mentioned that it will be growing the program. I welcome more good conversations with them and encourage my fellow administrators and educators to become active in the program. We can help those outside our schools understand the culture within our school communities and rally greater support for our schools’ needs. Schools continue to face challenges, such as completing the remainder of this school year with in-person classes, but I am hopeful for more consistency in the new school year and positive things to come.
As the largest public school in the CNMI, MHS serves students from across Saipan. This allows us to reinforce the message to our students and stakeholders that anyone can contribute to making our home a better place to live. Together, We Can!
For more information about how your group can participate in any of GCEA’s programs, visit the GCEA website at cnmieconomy.com. Engage with GCEA on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Aguon (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Jonathan Aguon is the principal of Marianas High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting from California and has a Master of Education degree from Framingham State University.