“My most favorite memory was when I was still a senior in high school. I had just come to school and was exhausted from working late the night before. …But on this day, he was acting out a part from the story, Beowulf. He jumped and did the monster’s voice, which woke me up.
“…After this class, I had to go straight to work. He pulled me to the side to speak to me once everyone else had left. ‘I don’t usually do this, but you’re welcome to come into my classroom in the morning before class starts and during lunch if you’re not rushing off for work. You can do your work here or you can even take a nap here. I won’t bother you and you can bring a friend or two in here if it helps you. Even if you need someone to talk to, I’ll be here.’
“These words are not verbatim, but they showed me how much some teachers value their students over their salary. Not only was my education being taken care of, but so was my physical and mental health. I am grateful for this teacher and everything he has done for me, his students, the school, and the growing community as well. I look up to the educators who do the same thing for their students.”
—Crystal Fiona Rio, Chalan Kanoa
“It was my first-grade teacher. …She was one of many teachers that treated me with extreme kindness. She made me feel comfortable and made learning fun and exciting. I recall that when my fellow classmates and I would feel hungry, she would make every attempt to provide [us food]. She did say we could not learn on an empty stomach and, well, she did provide where she could. She cared so much for her students and this is the only reason why I remember her so vividly. There was not a day that she did not put her best foot forward for all of us in the classroom. I truly appreciate her and hope she is doing well today.”
—Wayne Pangelinan, Papago
“There are many memories, it’s actually hard to pick a favorite but one that I cherish and remember fondly: My first-grade teacher in [Mount Carmel School] Sister +Aurora Tano and vice principal +Eme Camacho. I skipped K-5 and went to first grade when I was 4 years old. I recall being behind during class, not knowing how to write the numbers and tell time in a “clock” activity. I felt like an impostor and wanted to stop going to school. Sr. +Aurora tutored me every Saturday morning to get me up to speed and I will always remember VP +Eme giving me encouraging pep talks to boost my confidence during that first year at MCS. I’ll never forget the warmth of her character and guidance. I’ll always remember she had the biggest smile on her face when I aced my first test. This happened almost three decades ago, but there are some things you just never forget.”
—Jacqueline Che, Kannat Tabla
“The best teachers want you to have fun, and some of my most fun memories at Mount Carmel are with Dr. [Galvin Deleon Guerrero]. As my AP Government and English instructor, “Dr. G” always found ways to weave fun with learning. By the end of every novel we read, Dr. G would divide the class into Star Wars-themed groups and pit us against each other in Jeopardy. The winning group would receive an automatic 100% on the following quiz, so we took winning seriously. Looking back, we may have taken winning a little too seriously. It felt like my team, the Sith, paralleled our movie counterparts. I bet he had a lot of fun watching us scream answers at each other and treat a game like Jeopardy as life or death.
“What I also loved about Dr. G is that we both love Star Wars. Growing up, I thought I was the biggest Star Wars fan in the world, but after my first time visiting his office, I was wrong. He had so much memorabilia in it that it could be a museum. One time, during the premiere of Rogue One in 2017, he caught me finishing my novel critique on Hamlet in the row in front of him, just before the movie began and the night it was due.
“Since high school, Dr. G has supported countless students and me with their academic and career journeys. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for his counsel and love of learning.”
—Nathaniel Snodgrass, San Vicente
“I had so many awesome teachers, but I always felt that school was not as useful as experience. When I went to college here, I took EN101, Dr. [Constantine] Popadapolous’ class [at the Northern Marianas College]. He said that the degree we earn is proof that we are teachable. ‘When we think about how this might apply to work, think of how difficult it may be to train a new employee. By having that degree, you have proof that you were able to go out and learn new things. That piece of paper becomes an artifact of your ability to be given a task and conquering it.’ I can happily say that it gave me a new perspective. These are the things, inspire to aspire. Biba to all the teachers!”
—Keoni Hosono, As Falpi