Dear Mount Carmel School family:
It was one year ago that our islands and our school were devastated by Super Typhoon Yutu, one of the worst storms in recorded U.S. history. But it was not the first time that had happened.
Fifty years prior to Yutu, Typhoon Jean wreaked havoc on Mount Carmel School, tearing down buildings, destroying classrooms, and breaking the hearts of the school’s students, parents, faculty, and staff. But the school’s founding fathers and mothers, led by Fr. Arnold Bendowski and the Sisters of the Mercedarian Missionaries of Berriz, pulled the school family together and with faith in God and faith in each other, they rebuilt the school, brick by brick, book by book.
Fifty years later, Super Typhoon Yutu wreaked similar havoc on the school. The library and the main office were hit hard, the cafeteria was blown away, roofing was ripped off, and classrooms and offices were flooded. But inspired by the example set forth by Fr. Arnold and MMB sisters after Typhoon Jean, our school family pulled together, with hope, determination, and faith, in God and each other. We, too, are rebuilding our beloved school, brick by brick, book by book.
In the aftermath of that devastation, we came together with the mantra: We are Knight Strong. We will rise!!!
And risen we have.
We cleaned and repaired classrooms and key parts of campus. We also secured generators and water supplies to provide power and running water. As a result, we were able to reopen the school and resume classes merely weeks after the typhoon. We also got creative in meeting the needs of our students and their families with free meals, uniform accommodations, and financial assistance. And once classes resumed, we proceeded to repair other parts of campus, including common areas and our gymnasium.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support of so many individuals and entities, including Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez, our board of directors led by chair Vicente “Ben” Babauta, our leadership team, faculty, staff, parents, families, friends, supporters, federal and local government agencies, Knights, and AlumKnights. To all of you, we owe a huge debt of gratitude.
To be sure, much more work still lies ahead and recovery efforts continue. We continue to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the CNMI Public School System’s Federal Programs Office, the Office of the Governor, the Saipan Mayor’s Office, our insurance company, and various donors to secure additional funding for remaining repairs. With this funding, we will be able to continue work on the gymnasium, replace books and instructional materials, and repair our library, to name a few projects.
Indeed, while much work has been done, much more work remains. However, as we have been saying, with faith in God and faith in each other, we will rebuild, brick by brick, book by book.
We are Knight Strong. We will rise!!!
Galvin Deleon Guerrero, Ed.D.
President, Mount Carmel School Inc.