NMI educators remember Close Up Foundation founder


Close Up Foundation founder Stephen A. Janger, right, presents an award to Belen Jesuit Preparatory School’s Social Studies Department chairman Patrick Collins in this file photo taken in 2001 at the National Press Club in Washington, (D.C. Belenjesuit.org)

The community of CNMI educators still remember how Close Up Foundation founder Stephen Allen Janger helped bring more than 300 students and teachers from the CNMI to Washington, D.C. as part of its interactive programs.

Close Up Foundation, founded in 1971 by Janger along with his wife Kathleen and brother Stanford, has helped over 650,000 middle and high school students and other educators to experience up close how the U.S. government works. Educational trips include meeting key government officials and seeing famous landmarks at the nation’s capital.

Janger died last Oct. 11, 2015, in McLean, Virginia after a long illness and was laid to rest in his hometown in Oklahoma City. He was 79. He served as the Close Up Foundation’s president and chief executive officer from 1971 until his retirement in 2005. A memorial celebration is set on March 9 in Washington, D.C.

Former Marianas High School vice principal for instruction Frances Sablan said the program started to include Micronesia—including the CNMI and Guam—and the Pacific regions in the 1980s. She became one of the first educators from the CNMI to be part of the program when it started in 1985.

“I was very fortunate to have met him when I traveled to Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, Virginia, and New York City as the first classroom teacher/educator from the CNMI to participate and experience the Close Up Program with Corrine U. Hofschneider, the first high school student from MHS,” said Sablan, who served as MHS’ acting principal until her retirement in December 1996,

“It was Mr. Janger’s efforts that the CNMI, Micronesia, and Pacific region received funds to send students and educators to participate every year since 1985,” she added. “With the support of our local leaders, active parents who raised funds, and the Public School System, the CNMI was able to send more educators and students.”

Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan said Janger “was a great friend to the PSS.”

“We have seen over the years how Steve and Close Up have impacted the lives of many of our children that have traveled to Washington, D.C. and Honolulu to participate in Close Up Foundation programs. These travels and program participation were made possible through Steve’s effort to identify funds for the Pacific students and teachers,” said Rita Sablan.

“Many of these students are now adults that are giving back to our community. Some of them are working in our school district, some are at the Commonwealth Legislature, some have started their own business and some are working for other public and non-public sectors.”

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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