NORTHERN Marianas College conferred 304 degrees and certificates to the graduating Class of 2022. Four received Excellence in Service and Leadership awards, 16 received academic achievement awards, 25 graduated summa cum laude, 50 magna cum laude and 64 cum laude.
Receiving the Excellence in Leadership Award for Bachelor's Degree was Jamerie Esguerra Paras, a full-time mother, wife, and employee.
“Her determination, passion, humble character, and willingness to help others is admirable,” NMC stated.
A Bachelor of Science in Business Management student, she served as the Phi Theta Kappa president for Academic Year 2020 to 2021, Business Club president for 2021-2022, and was recently inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society which recognizes business graduates with a 3.5 GPA and above.
She has enlisted in the U.S. Army as a 68W combat medic specialist in the Reserves and will be departing the island to undergo basic training at the end of this month.
Gerald King Crisostomo Jr. received the Excellence in Leadership Award for Associate Degree.
A business administration student, Crisostomo serves as vice president for the Associated Students of NMC and sits on various college committees and councils.
As a student employee, he has spearheaded cultural events and activities. He is passionate about culture and helped launch the Embrace and Revive Project. He is also leading a partnership and student club with the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.
The Class of 2022 Excellence in Service Awardee for Bachelor’s Degree is Alyssa Pangelinan Attao, a Bachelor of Science in Education, Rehabilitation and Human Services concentration student.
Since attending NMC beginning in Fall 2017, Attao has been involved in numerous activities, including 4-H Marianas. She has dedicated her time and energy to developing and strengthening various programs in the CNMI that aim to empower the youth to be productive and responsible citizens of the community.
Attao has also worked as a Project Proa mentor and tutor to other students. She has served as treasurer and vice president and is the outgoing president of the Associated Students of NMC.
Eloise Rose Lopez is the recipient of Excellence in Service Award for Associate Degree.
A natural resource management student, she has gone above and beyond to serve her fellow students and community through her role as student representative for the Associated Students of NMC, and as an advocate for the environment, ocean conservation and stewardship through her participation in the Environmental Natural Resource Organization Club, the Division of Coastal Resources Management, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, and Project H.O.P.E. She is an active member of the Friends of the Mariana Trench.
Those who received the Academic Achievement Award for accumulating the highest grade point average were Audrey Jan Samson Afable, Thomas Dela Cruz Benavente, Mary Angeline Bautista Danga, Marijean Frank Fernandez, Mia Le’alani E. Fleming, Edriel Acuin Javier, Nicole Yeeun Kim, Laverne Dela Cruz Masangcay, Nicole Ira Mauricio Mascarinas, Glen John Macalanda Matalog, Timothy Mones Retirado, Patricia Joy Santos San Nicolas, Shella Kliu Flores Sibetang, Jude Russell Montoya Tengco, Kiana Joyce Baroy Valencia and Roger Alegre Valencia.
Also honored were the 21 graduates of Framingham State University for earning their Master of Education – International Teaching concentration. This program is made possible through a partnership between the NMC Community Development Institute and Framingham State University.
Joining the NMC Proas in the commencement ceremony were Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, House members and NMC board members led by Chairman Charles Cepeda.
Rep. Sheila Babauta was the keynote speaker.
College Marshal Poonsri “Lek” Algaier, the longest serving faculty member, and NMC President Emerita and Founding President Agnes McPheters, carried the college mace to signify the start of the ceremony.
The student delivering this year’s commencement address was Sheila Aliven who was selected by this year’s class.
Also delivering their remarks were NMC President Galvin Deleon Guerrero Ed.D and the keynote speaker, Rep. Sheila Babauta.
“Looking at you fellow graduates, I am reminded of a Latin phrase by Julius Caesar: ‘Veni, vidi vici.’ I came, I saw and I conquered,” Aliven said as she performed the “dab.”
“You are all testaments to the agency that we have — the power that we have — to shape our destiny,” Deleon Guerrero told the Class of 2022. “That is why I don’t like words like typhoon, pandemic, or austerity. We are better than the language of victimhood.”
“As you grow,” Babauta said, “as you experience life, it is up to you. More and more it is up to you. You get to decide. You get to define what life looks like, what boundaries mean, what love is, what work is meaningful, when to get married and have kids…. You get to write your story. That kind of power can be scary. It's huge and you will be tested. There will be times when people will want to take your power, dampen your light and hide it from the world. But it is still up to you. Do not be afraid of your power. When you lean into the darkness and fear, with your light with your power, you will discover that you are here for something much more, much bigger than yourself.”