Antinelle Santos is the Public School System’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
The Dr. Rita Hocog Inos High School teacher was bestowed the honor during last Wednesday’s Education Day celebrations at the Hopwood Middle School.
The award came as a surprise for Santos as she didn’t expect to win.
“Honestly, the award was so unexpected and teaching is a very humbling profession. I know teachers go beyond their call of duty but it is something that we work hard on for our children and for the other people we work for and work with,” she said.
“My belief is teaching must come from the heart. Our future will not be a better place if we do not see the goodness in people and academics comes after. Academics is very important but, at the same time, [we should] teach children to love each other and to love other people,” Santos added.
Other outstanding CNMI PSS personnel and faculty for 2017-2018 are Michael Berbes from Hopwood Middle School, who bagged the Instructor of the Year award; Josephine King from Tinian Junior and Senior High School, who bagged the Teacher Aide of the Year award; Marjorie Kintol from Hopwood Middle School, who bagged the Counselor of the Year award; Natalie Hill-Beyer from Kagman Elementary School, who bagged the Librarian of the Year award; Valerie Dela Cruz from Tinian Junior and Senior High School, who bagged the Administrative Support Staff of the Year award; Faustino Tmilchol from Saipan Southern High School, who bagged the Trades and Maintenance of the Year award; and Victor Linan from Tinian Elementary School, who bagged the Pupil Transportation Staff of the Year award.
PSS also recognized students for topping various categories at this year’s Education Day. Danica Atalig from Oleai Elementary School won the 2017 Education Month theme contest, Prince Muniz from Dandan Middle School won the 2017 Education Month logo design contest, and Tolia Quitugua from Sinapalo Elementary School won the elementary essay contest.
In his speech, acting Education commissioner Glen Muña said that PSS has seen many changes in the last 29 years and many of those changes came with great adversity, but this showed PSS personnel’s reliance on each other.
“One thing I am sure of that no other government agency in the CNMI can match is the resilience of the educators of the PSS. Despite the changes, we continue to remain focused on our mission,” he said.
“We persevere because the lives of the children in our care are too precious to give up on. As we move into our 30th year, we will continue to stand together, overcome challenges, and continue to give the children of the CNMI our best,” Muña added.
CNMI Board of Education chair Marylou Ada also lauded the CNMI’s public school teachers for their efforts in nurturing the young minds of the islands’ youth.
“Every morning 10,000 children in the Commonwealth wake up energized, excited to go to school. I asked one student why and he said ‘he loves learning’ and another one said ‘I love my teacher.’ This is what makes parents happy, knowing that their child is getting the best education at PSS,” she said.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres encouraged teachers to take pride in their profession and encouraged them to keep the children’s environment conducive to learning.
The program was packed with song and dance numbers presented by faculty from each schools, student recognitions, and school and teacher awards.