TOGETHER, WE CAN
Promoting village pride within our schools makes for better students
When the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers presented its Marianas Village Pride Campaign at the CNMI Public School System State Level Parent Summit on Oct. 9, our staff, teachers, and parents were immediately drawn to the concept. Within a week, GCEA received great feedback and support from all stakeholders, including the Board of Education from Rota, Tinian, and Saipan. Rota and Tinian were among the first to reach out to GCEA about its Adopt-A-Median campaign in which the school committed to sprucing up sidewalks, medians, and curbs around the campuses.
GCEA closed out its MVP Village Flag Art Contest this past Monday. Proudly, Marianas High School submitted more than 800 designs from students. We encourage schools to continue to get their entries in to be counted. I am so proud of the response, which is evident of how our youth desire to showcase their village and island pride. GCEA is taking the contest a step further and will announce when the students’ artwork will be on display for everyone to enjoy. You’ll be amazed at their creativity and thoughtfulness!
You may wonder why a village flag is important. Each village has its own identity that should be showcased and represented not only within the community but with visitors who come to the Marianas. The Village Flag Art competition allowed our students to take control and get creative about what their village is known for. One of the artists, Jemima Corpuz, drew a wonderful piece for Navy Hill, which happens to be my home village. Ms. Corpuz included the Mariana Lighthouse, a sunset, homes, and where Navy Hill is located on the Saipan map. She drew these iconic places because Navy Hill is known for its beautiful sceneries and sunsets. She also shared how proud she is to be staying in a beautiful place. This is wonderful and gives me a great feeling that each flag submission GCEA received showcases just how much each student is proud to be where they are from.
Though the flag art competition has ended, our community and students can continue to participate in upcoming MVP contests—the Bus Stop Beautification and Christmas Decoration contests. Both will give our residents more opportunities to showcase their village pride. This partnership and collaboration among our schools, families, and leaders will be strengthened with a sense of shared responsibility—a true definition of community.
Understanding the importance of an individual’s role in the community builds an impactful sense of responsibility for our villages and islands. The Marianas is our home, and it is our responsibility to cherish and care for it as our ancestors did. We must continue to appreciate our village values, keep our pride alive, and teach them to our younger generations.
On behalf of PSS, we look forward to continuing this important village pride conversation with all 20 school administrators, PSS Central Office Programs, 20 school Parent-Teacher-Student Association officers, thousands of students throughout the islands, and on our official PSS social media channels. We invite you to join us and expand on these conversations in your homes.
Thank you GCEA for the opportunity to participate in the MVP campaign and for allowing our schools to partake in its efforts to promote a sense of belonging and pride. Together, and as a united community, we can build a safer, more beautiful, and loving Marianas.
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liela Yumul is the CNMI Public School System’s Interim Family Engagement and Community Involvement Program manager under the Office of the Commissioner of Education. She leads various programs to support student growth and community engagement. She is the former principal of Garapan Elementary School.