NMTI identifies and contacts 20 adult high school students

Posted on Sep 14 2021


The Northern Marianas Technical Institute was able to contact 20 out of 36 adult high school students who were taking high school-equivalent classes at the trade school but were unable to complete their studies due to NMTI’s closure last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a partnership with NMC, these students can now continue their high school-equivalent education by completing NMC’s Adult Basic Education program.

It was previously reported that there were 36 adult high school students who did not complete NMTI’s “adult vocational technical high school program” and that concerns regarding these students were brought up during NMTI’s appearance at a Senate hearing earlier this month.

In an interview with NMTI’s student services and curriculum coordinator Meena Benavente on Thursday, she said she and NMTI staff combed through many file cabinets and computer records and were able to find the names and contact information of 20 of the 36 adult high school students. Benavente and others at NMTI have already begun contacting these students and are pointing them toward NMC’s ABE program and invites the remaining 16 to call NMTI at 323-6600 and ask for Benavente or Jerry Pangelinan.

Benavente said Thursday that due to the pandemic, the ABE program is completely online, but the program and NMTI itself offers many accommodations to ensure that these students complete their studies. Upon completion of the ABE program, students receive a certificate of completion equivalent to a high school diploma.

Benavente mentioned that NMC has a loaner program, where ABE students can receive a laptop on loan in case that they do not have their own personal computers. Benavente also mentioned that the college offers physical weekly activity packets for those who are not as tech-savvy or are intimidated by technology. These packets can be picked up at NMTI or NMC, and are submitted weekly to NMC’s ABE coordinator Franklin Palacios.

For adult high school students with limited to no internet access at home, Benavente said that students are welcome to go to NMTI’s facility in Lower Base, use its free internet, and complete their studies there.

Benavente said that NMTI’s adult high school students who are U.S. citizens, green card holders, or long-term residents can participate in the ABE program free of charge, but for past adult high school students who are in the CNMI on a contract worker visa such as the CW-1 or CW-2 visas, there will be a fee of $40 per class.

Benavente thanked the community for raising concerns about the 36 students and thanked NMC for partnering with NMTI to help these students complete their studies.

“We really appreciate the team of individuals who brought this matter to NMTI’s attention, and now we appreciate NMC’s Adult Basic Education program for allowing these former students a shot at success and obtaining their high school-equivalent [certificate]”, said Benavente. Applications for NMC’s ABE program can be picked up at the college.

Joshua Santos | Reporter
Joshua Santos is a Mount Carmel School AlumKnight and University of Florida Gator Grad with a passion for writing. He is one of Saipan Tribune’s newest reporters. Josh enjoys golf, chess, and playing video games with friends in his spare time. Reach out to him @rarebasedjosh on all socials.

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