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Fil-Ams Snagged Top Academic Awards in Tinian

TJHS Valedictorian Clarence Rodriguez Photo © Lyn Lirio

TWO graduating Filipino-American students of the Tinian Junior High School snagged the school’s top academic honors during the promotion ceremony that marks the end of their junior high school days.

Clarence Paraiso Rodriguez graduated as class valedictorian and was the recipient of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands Board of Education Award. He also received awards of Academic Excellence in Math, Science, Social Studies and Career and Technical Education or CTE.

TJHS Salutatorian Elvira Marie Dominguiano Photo © Lyn Lirio

Graduated as salutatorian, Elvie Marie Acido Dominguiano. She was the Commissioner of Education Award recipient. She was also given the Academic Excellence in English Language and Arts and Chamorro, Carolinian Language and Heritage Studies Award.

The two Fil-Ams were among the 44 TJHS students who marched during the ceremony, which was held at the cavernous cafeteria of the school.

In his speech, Rodriguez pointed out the value of hard work.

“You can be smart, but without determination and hard work paired with that, there’s no success. In life, if you want something, you have to work for it.”

A self-proclaimed procrastinator, Rodriguez admitted that his 7th and 8th grade was a stressful experience for him.

“Why it was stressful is my fault. My main problem is that I like to procrastinate because I’d rather do interesting stuff than to be on task. I always do finish my work and make sure I’d get a good grade and it usually ends up me sleeping late, which I hate, and the latest one was around 5:30 am.”

However, the top graduate said he was motivated to do his best because he wants to be successful in the future.

“Give school the best you’ve got because education is one of the most valuable key to success if that’s what you want and you shouldn’t take it lightly. You’re passing, that’s satisfactory, but if you get high grades, it would be better. Believe in yourself, you know yourself the most. Four more years and we’re graduating. If you haven’t already, do your best. Just do it! To those who are already trying their best, keep it up. All these work we do, it pays off of course. Your dreams won’t be dreams because they’ll be reality,” he said.

He thanked his teachers at TJHS for helping the graduates and him pushing them to their limits.

“Mom and Dad thank you for your guidance and help with my projects whenever I need it. I appreciate everything you guys have done. I dedicated all my hard work and success to you, my loving family. I thank God for such wonderful blessings that He bestowed on me. I cannot be here today standing in front of you without the gift of knowledge from him,” Rodriguez concluded.

Dominguiano, in her speech, gave emphasis to this year’s promotional ceremony theme: “Before you quit, remember why you started. That is exactly what you all have done, you did not quit. You started for your own purpose,” she said.

“This is it, fellow classmates. We are here, ending our junior high year, and beginning our very own high school year. We all have worked hard to get in the positions we are in at this moment. All the days and nights of doing homework or projects, the work we had to do all in a week, the extra work we had to makeup, and everything else, is being reflected on today.”

The salutatorian reminded the class of the unforgettable unforgettable memories they made together.

“We have made unexpected friendships. We became different people that were shaped into the better students we are today and all the kinds of obstacles and new discoveries that came in the way along our path. Still, we were able to make it, and that is all that matters.”

“Unfortunately, as time flew, all of it has come to an end, but it was all worth it. It was worth the eight hours of learning from each single class, and simply understanding that if an apple falls on your head, hey, that’s gravity’s fault. It’s now time to take things into action, and some of us won’t be staying for long for our new beginning. Fellow classmates, I ask you to continue to stride reaching for your dreams. It’s your duty as we begin to fulfill that. Take those opportunities. Achieve it,” Dominguiano encouraged her fellow graduates.

“My classmates, look at the audience. Find the people that love you, supported you, and helped you become the best person you are. Those are the people who have inspired you. As you go back home, remember this moment, on where you have made everyone proud. This is where it begins – right here, and right now,” Dominguiano said.

The Top Ten students of TJHS for school year 2016-17 are:

1: Clarence Paraiso Rodriguez

2: Elvie Marie Acido Dominguiano

3: Kiran Arthur Malicdem Shrestha

4: Tasi Thomas Gutierrez Long

5: David Robert Reyes Mendiola

6: Anisha Juana Cabrera Viches

7: Allen Joshua Javel Morilla

8: Eddawn Loriel Nucum Labador

9: Axl Matias Ong

10: Karen Joy Obsioma Lagunay

Lori Lyn Lirio
Lori Lyn C. Lirio is a veteran newshen having worked for the People's Journal Tonight for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. She currently writes for the Marianas Variety, Saipan's number one community paper. .

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