Filipino-Americans continue their quest for academic honors in Saipan

HMS Valedictorian Mary Joyce Espinosa with the Board of Education Academic Excellence Award. Photo by Lori Lyn Lirio

FILIPINO Americans continue to grab the top academic honors in Saipan, this time at the Hopwood Middle School.

This was learned after HMS promoted 303 middle schoolers (8th grade) to high school (9th grade) next grade last June 1.

Principal Rizalina Liwag said these students have succeeded and completed their educational journey in the middle school and are now ready for high school.

“Students, I challenge you to make a meaningful contribution to the schools [that you will be attending] by showing that you will continue your journey to the high school level and to college level and that you will never give up,” Liwag said.

“Your determination and perseverance are two elements for your success,” she added.

In addressing the students, Board of Education Chairwoman MaryLou S. Ada said high school is bigger than middle school.

“Just be yourself and don’t go with the flow,” she advised them.

The BOE head said high school has more responsibility and more things to learn. She added that the next four years will be a preparation of what life they wanted to choose – attending college, go to technical education or join the workforce.

“You work and study hard. Listen to what others are telling you – parents, counselors, teachers, and mentors,” she said.

Valedictorian Mary Joyce Espinosa admitted that she had a hard time balancing school work and other activities.

“The stress of trying to balance school work and activities in and out of the school was really hard to manage but I realize now that all the hard work and effort leads up to today. Today is the day where we are able to say that we are finally promoting to high school. I feel so happy and blessed to be a part of the HMD to have the opportunity to learn from all my teachers,” she said.

Like many students, she experienced hardships in studying for an exam or finishing special projects and facing strict teachers at the 8th grade.

She said the support of her parents, teachers, and friends helped her to withstand the challenges in the school.


Students awards:

Mary Joyce Espinosa, valedictorian, Board of Education Academic Excellence Award

Daniel Marcel Bercilla, Vivien Liu, salutatorian (tie)
– Commissioner of Education Academic Excellence Award

Vladimir Radge Palma – Principal Leadership Award

Kiana Villagomez Aldan – Top Female Athlete

Jaydee Esteban Jose – Top Male Athlete

Best in subject award:

Kevin Valencia – Math

Vivien Liu – English Language Arts

Vladimir Radge Palma – Science

Vivien Liu – Social Studies

Jaibelle Nelminda – Leadership Corps.

Paulyn Joyce – Physical Education

Vivien Liu – Computer Literacy

Jaibelle Nelmida – Agriculture

Nicole Ann Villagomez – CCLHS

Kristina Achas – Math

Ailynn Galvan – English Language Arts

Adriana Tamparong – Science

Ailynn Galvan – Social Studies

Rochelle Faustino – Leadership Corps.

Arisa Custodio – Physical Education

Mary Joyce Espinosa – Computer Literacy

David Ahn – Agriculture

Mary Joyce Espinosa – CCLHS


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