ROTA (PSS) — Forty-two Dr. Rita Hocog Inos Junior High School eighth graders were promoted to high school during a special drive-thru ceremony on Thursday, May 27.

The class valedictorian is Sayera Sidur who is also the Board of Education awardee.  She received the award from BOE Chairman Andrew Orsini, Vice Chairman Herman Atalig, member Antonio Bora and school principal D. Tanya King.

The salutatorian and recipient of the Commissioner of Education Award is Ashley Cayabyab. Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada and school principal King presented the award to Cayabyab.

Three other eighth graders were promoted with top honors: Star Mendiola, Wynette Ogo and Al Valentine Taitano Jr.

To make the day extra-special for the promoted students, their school set up a photo booth where they posed for photos after receiving their certificates of promotion.

Sidur, in her valedictory address, thanked her family, her RHI school leaders and teachers.

“I began my schooling back in Bangladesh until I was in the third grade,” she said. “I was very sad when I had to leave all my friends and family behind to move here to Rota and start a new journey…. I struggled a lot because I wasn’t good at speaking or writing English. This made it difficult for me to do well in my class. But I didn’t give up. With the help of my teachers, my classmates, and my family, I was able to overcome the challenges I went through.”

She added, “Now, I can’t believe that I am the valedictorian of my class. I have definitely come a long way.”

Salutatorian Cayabyab honored her parents for their support. “This is the day when we can make our parents proud. To succeed…we need skills, talent, grit and adaptability, not just intelligence.”

She told her classmates: “We have formed friendships that will never be broken and memories that will last a lifetime. We’ve all come a long way.”

Among the elected leaders who joined education officials, school principal King, vice principal Annette Calvo and the rest of RHI family during the promotion ceremony were Sen. Paul A. Manglona, Sen. Teresita Santos, Rep. Donald Mendiola, Mayor Efraim Atalig, and Rota Municipal Council Chairman Jim Atalig.

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