After more than a two-hour-long open-air commencement exercise, a total of 322 members of Marianas High School’s Class of 2019 received their diplomas last Tuesday at the school’s grounds.
The class valedictorian, Dai Podziewski, urged his fellow graduates in his speech to “dream the dream…take [the] risks and embrace the challenge.”
He also reminded his fellow graduates how special and talented they are. “We are artists, athletes, fishermen, dancers, musicians, scientists, mathematicians, photographers, videographers, debaters, public speakers, actors, writers, and designers. We’re special and we’re alive here in this moment together.”
Podziewski skillfully balanced academics, athletics, community service, and leadership roles throughout high school. He hopes that feat will make him a role model to younger student athletes.
“Just because they are an athlete doesn’t mean that they can’t excel in academics,” he said in a later interview with Saipan Tribune.
He feels pride and honor at being named the valedictorian because he believes it caps all his hard work throughout high school.
Podziewski will pursue a major in journalism at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, he will be playing NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer for the university.
Class salutatorian Cole Chambers reminded his fellow graduates to “remember the people that have helped and supported us along the way” and is grateful that he spent his four years of high school at MHS. “It is you, the students and the faculty, that turned this school into a second family, supporting everyone along the way. I couldn’t have been happier with how these last four years turned out.”
Chambers will pursue a major in civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Podziewski also received the Board of Education Award, while Chambers received the Commissioner of Education Award.
Pionnah Rosej Gregorio received the Service Recognition award. Mozelle Campo received the Governor’s Leadership award. Soledad Cecilia Camacho received the Principal’s Award.
The top 10 highest honors were Podziewski, Chambers, Jonah Pohl, Marielle Anne Sambilay, Nicole Ira Mascarinas, Ruoxiang John Lu, Ian Rei Cataluna, Gaeun Yang, Mimi Sakano, and Lourdes Nicole Ocaya. An honorable mention was given to Charissa Lou Parco.