Diaspora Feature Story

Another Filipino-American becomes the valedictorian of her batch in Saipan

By Lori Lyn Lirio

Interim Commissioner of Education Glenn Muña with student awardees Bethany Toni Limes Taitano, No’elani Kioko Manibusan Romolor, Princess Rikki Dela Cruz Lacson, Kaiana Darlene Fitial Piteg and Ely Joseph De Guzman Taitano. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

FILIPINO Americans continue grabbing the top academic honors in Saipan this time in Chacha Ocean View Middle School.

This was learned as COVMS recently promoted 77 middle schoolers to high school during a simple ceremony at the school’s cafeteria.

COVMS Principal Martha Kintol said the Class of 2018 selected the theme: “Plant the seeds of your dreams, and grow the tree of your future.”

The teachers and the staff here at the school have done a wonderful job in giving you that seed,” Kintol said, referring to the knowledge imparted to the students.

She said the theme is fitting for the promotees as she reminded them that Chacha Ocean View Middle School students are proud lancherus or farmers.

Farmers are hard workers,” she said.

You have to know what you want to plant and you need to know why you want to plant that seed. A farmer tends to that seed to ensure that it will grow.”

Farmers know that seasons change. There will be drought season and there will be season that is bountiful,” she added.

In exiting the middle school and moving on to high school, Kintol told the students that there will be seasons of challenges and seasons of fortune.

When you are in the season of challenges, remember, you always have a choice to pick yourself up. she said.

Always remind yourself that it is only a season of challenge and I am going to move forward.”

In his congratulatory remarks, Acting Associate Commissioner for Administrative Services Eric M. Magofna said all the things that they learned in school are the seeds. 

How much attention and care you give to these seeds, would determine how big you will grow. How big your future will be.”

In the same ceremony, Fil-Am Valedictorian Princess Rikki Dela Cruz Lacson was given the Board of Education Academic Excellence Award, while Kaiana Darlene Fitial Piter received Commissioner of Education Excellence Award.

In her valedictory address, Lacson thanked her teachers who motivated her and pushed her to go further in her studies. She also thanked her parents for teaching her that “intelligence is nothing without personality.”

Lacson, in concluding her short speech, shared to the promotees her favorite quote from Martin Luther King Jr. who said “the function of education is to teach one intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character is the true goal of education.”

Class salutatorian Kaiana Darlene Fitial Piteg thanked her family and friends for sticking by her side and helped her up when she stumbled through tough times.

To my parents, thank you for painting a positive picture of the reality of life and for pushing my limits to strive for excellence in all possible aspects,” she said.

Bringing what they learned from Chacha Ocean View Middle School, Piteg encouraged her fellow students to “bring positive change and make our mark in the world. We are remarkable, unique and gifted individuals with so much talent to offer the world around us. We started strong, let us continue to be stronger.”

The student awardees:

Princess Rikki Dela Cruz – Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Woodshop, Chamorro, Business Math and Computer Application

Bethany Toni Limes Taitano – Science

No’elani Kioko Manibusan Romolor – Physical Education

Ely Joseph De Guzman Taitano – Leadership Award


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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