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Olopai is Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year

Posadas named Rotarian of the Year

Lino Mettao Olopai—an educator, a preservationist, a storyteller, and a navigator—was recognized as this year’s Citizen of the Year by the Rotary Club of Saipan.

At a ceremony at the Pacific Islands Club Saipan last Tuesday, Olopai’s contributions to the CNMI were highlighted.

“Olopai is known throughout the community for his lifelong passion in the preservation of Carolinian traditions, customs, and cultural identity,” club past president Mike Sablan said.

“Tonight we honor him for his efforts in this area and for all his many achievements and contributions toward making our community a better place for all of us,” he added.

Olopai, said he is “deeply humbled” by the award.

“I never expected anything in return for things that I’ve been doing as ordinary citizens. I am truly lost for kind words, except to say, thank you all so very much,” Olopai said.

“I am deeply honored and privileged to stand before you and accept this recognition you have just bestowed upon me,” he added.

Ever humble, Olopai said he is accepting the award on behalf of those who helped him become who he is today.

“I am accepting this Citizen of the Year award on behalf of the Carolinan community, my families, my elders who are no longer here with us tonight but I am indebted to them, because they are the ones who shaped and mold me through traditional oral teachings to become who I am today,”

Among many of his works, Olopai is known as the author of the book “The Rope of Tradition: Reflections of a Saipan Carolinian.” It tells of his life and work to keep the culture he grew up with alive.

In his speech, Olopai mentioned again the need for the oral teachings to continue in the society instead of just focusing on western teachings. In oral teachings, one learns values, cultures, and tradition—lessons that are sometimes more valuable.

However, Olopai also calls for balance between the two teachings and somehow recognized the advancement of technology.

Ending his speech with a joke and an “advice” from his grandchildren he said: “If you want to know more about Lino, just Google me.”

Rotarian of the year
The Rotary Club also honored one of their members as 2015 Rotarian of the Year.

“The Rotarian of the year is a special reward and I would suspect, I never won it, but I would suspect that those who won it are proud to possess such an award,” now past president Richard Cody said.

He noted that officers and directors are not included on the list of those who could receive such an award.

“Rotarian of the year comes from the general membership,” he said.

This year, Rotarian Wendell Posadas was chosen by Cody.

Posadas, who was inducted as a club member just this March, said he didn’t expect to be recognized.

“I was surprised,” Posadas said.

Posadas will serve the club as director for vocational services for the current year 2015-2016.

Aside from being a member of the Rotary Club, Posadas is also a teacher at the Northern Marianas Trades Institute. He teaches automotive as well as air-conditioning classes.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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