Story & Photos by: LTC(R) Kevin J. Yatar
On Thursday, 20 July 2023 the Simon A. Sanchez HS Shark Battalion’s Color Guard “Guardians” supported the Guam Department of Education’s (GDOE) district-wide summer commencement exercise. This year’s “Rainbow Graduation” was held at the Micronesia Mall in Dededo, Guam and at the request of the GDOE-District, the Sanchez Shark Battalion provided Color Guard and Usher support. “In the wake of Super Typhoon Mawar that caused millions of dollars in damages across the island of Guam, conducting this graduation ceremony in the midst of recovery and while many families and businesses remain without power and water, is important. Ceremonies such as these provide hope and promise for our island as these 100-plus graduates from seven different high schools and charter academies, have shown the grit, discipline and motivation to complete their academic requirements. Their efforts are a direct reflection of the community’s and island of Guam’s resilience in the wake of Typhoon Mawar” said LTC(Ret) Kevin Yatar, SAI, Simon A. Sanchez HS.
“It may have taken a little more than four years, but this ceremony is as much for each of these students as it is for the parents, guardians and families who supported each graduate in fulfilling their secondary education requirements” said Mr. Keith Quiambao, Assistant Principal, Simon A. Sanchez HS and emcee for the ceremony. Island dignitaries in attendance included: Senators Amanda Shelton, Joann Brown, Roy Quinata, and Chris Barnett (members of the 37th Guam Legislature); Dr. Kenneth Swanson (Superintendent, GDOE); Mr. Joe Sanchez (Deputy Superintendent for CIIP, GDOE); and Mrs. Maria Gutierrez (Vice President, Guam School Board). Color Guard members performing in the ceremony were Cadets Junior Phillip, Jayden Gurungin, Glenn Laxamana, and Joseph Payumo. Cadets assisting with usher and logistical support were Liberty Flores and Nathanael Taimanao.