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Agape Christian School holds ‘solemn but special’ graduation ceremony

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AGAPE Christian School held a graduation ceremony on Wednesday that complied with the social distancing directives of the government.

“Our graduation ceremony was not as grand as the previous years —it was solemn but special,” ACS principal Jimeian Pang said, adding that 12 students graduated from high school and 27 were promoted from middle school.

None of the parents were present in the ceremony. Almost all of them live abroad, ACS Pastor Kok H. Pang said.

Agape Christian School Class of 2020 valedictorian Joel Shouyu Du.

“Most parents and family members planned this trip two years ago to attend their son or daughter’s graduation. Unfortunately, the situation stopped them from travelling to Saipan,” the pastor said, referring to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This year, he added, 10 of their seniors are international students and only two are from Saipan.

In order for the parents not to miss their children’s graduation ceremony, a Zoom conference was set up by ACS.

 Agape Christian School Class of 2020 salutatorian Isaiah Jianan He.

The ceremony was held in the school auditorium. “The students waited outside for their turn to come in and get their diploma,” the school principal said.

ACS also hired a professional videographer to record the ceremony, and a digital copy will be distributed to the students.

Top students

Joel Shouyu Du is the Class of 2020 valedictorian while Isaiah Jianan He is the salutatorian.

In middle school, Eunice Juan Xu is the valedictorian while Beth Qinghong Zhang is the salutatorian.

In an interview, Joel Shouyu Du said he was both happy and sad. “I am glad that we have a graduation ceremony, but sad because my parents were not able to come to celebrate it with me.”

Du will attend Bob Jones Academy in South Carolina where he plans to major in computer engineering and computer science. Du represented the CNMI in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair competition in May 2019.

Social distancing rules were observed during Agape’s graduation ceremony.

If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught him, Du said it is about connecting with his family. “I was worried about them, but we try to communicate as often as possible.”

Isaiah Jianan He, for his part, said he wished his parents and friends were able to attend his graduation ceremony. “But I am still glad that I share my achievements with them through Zoom. The ceremony is still special.”

Like Du, He will also attend Bob Jones Academy where he will major in mechanical engineering.

The top middle school students Xu and Zhang, said this is their first year to attend school on Saipan.

Their parents were not able to travel to Saipan for the promotion ceremony, but their siblings, who are also attending ACS, were with them during the event.

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