‘We are ready’

This is what Mount Carmel School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero said as the school prepares to resume classes next week Tuesday, Nov. 13.

“All our classrooms and buildings are fully powered with generators, our water tanks are providing running water, we have restored internet connectivity, and we’ve repaired most of our air conditioners,” said Deleon Guerrero. “We look forward to helping our students return to a sense of normalcy.”

The efforts were made possible by commitments from Bishop Ryan P. Jimenez, the school’s board of directors led by chair Vicente “Ben” Babauta, and the school’s leadership team to mobilize all necessary resources to prepare the school.

Two major cleanup efforts were also held by the school involving students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and parents.

The school also got help from students and teachers from Grace Christian Academy, Saipan International School, Saipan Southern High School, Marianas High School, Kagman High School and Green Meadows School, as well as members of Marianas Young Professionals. DFS’ “We are DFS” cleanup team also spent three hours this past week cleaning classrooms.

Other individuals and organizations have also helped prepare for the reopening of the school with financial contributions and in-kind donations.

The school also acknowledged several contractors who mobilized quickly for repairs, including HBR International Inc., Kautz Glass, Sagittarius Manpower, SeaFix, and Scot Thompson.

The school also expressed appreciation to the CNMI Public School System, whose Childhood Nutrition Program is working with LSG Sky Chefs to continue the school meals program.

Accommodations
The school understands that many families still lack access to power, water, and reliable laundry services and will allow students to dress down for the time being. However, students must still follow the school’s dress down policy. In particular, students should wear shoes (no slippers) for safety purposes and no aspect of a student’s clothing may call undue attention or contradict the mission and philosophical values of the school.

The school will also waive all late fees for tuition through January and will be flexible with parents with a demonstrated need and who are struggling to meet tuition payments.

The school also announced its revised school calendar that will allow the school to end on schedule at the end of May 2019. To make up for days lost to Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu, half-day classes will be held on Commonwealth Constitution Day and Holy Thursday, and spring break will be cancelled. The school also announced that it would use Achieve3000 to make up for lost learning time by monitoring student use of the interactive and interdisciplinary online literacy program.

More work remains
Deleon Guerrero noted that much work remains to be done. “We’ve ensured that the campus is safe and that classrooms are functional, but we still need to rebuild our historic gym and our library, which were completely destroyed by Yutu.”

Deleon Guerrero is still hopeful. “Fifty years ago, Fr. Arnold Bendowski and the MMB Sisters pulled our school family together to recover from Typhoon Jean. We can do the same. 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!” (PR)

Obet Aguilar Aguilar

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