Middle and high school students explore barrier-breaking moments in Guam’s history for MARC competition

Middle and high school students explore barrier-breaking moments in Guam’s history for MARC competition

Middle and high school students explore barrier-breaking moments in Guam’s history for MARC competition


Students explore barrier-breaking moments in Guam’s history in UOG competition

Guam History Day 2020 logo
Guam History Day 2020 logo

A total of 80 middle and high school student research projects explored barrier-breaking people and events in Guam’s history for this year’s Guam History Day competition, which took place from May 15 to June 9, 2020. Sixteen projects took first-place prizes.

Hosted by the University of Guam Micronesian Area Research Center, the Guam History Day competition is a year-long historical research program that challenges students to develop their perspectives of Guam’s history.

“The students who competed not only interpreted the theme in dynamic ways, they also rose to the challenge of shifting from a traditional competition to a virtual one,” said Guam State Coordinator LaVonne Guerrero-Meno.

The competition was held virtually for the first time due to the pandemic. Adhering to the theme “Breaking Barriers in Guam’s History,” students electronically presented their research in the form of a research paper, documentary, exhibit, performance, or website.

The projects were judged by a panel of 35 community judges — including teachers, UOG faculty, business professionals, and representatives from Guampedia and Guam Preservation Trust — on historic quality and accuracy, adherence to the theme, and project guidelines.

“MARC appreciates the community-wide effort it took to host this year’s competition,” Guerrero-Meno said.

While the students with the highest scoring projects typically go to the University of Maryland in Washington, D.C., to represent Guam at the National History Day competition, this year’s first-place winners instead received laptops and iPads courtesy of Takagi and Associates Inc., South Pacific Petroleum Corp., GTA, Guam Preservation Trust, and UOG’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“While the island was concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic, UOG MARC was focused on getting this competition underway and giving the students their deserved recognition, which is truly an awesome thing they did,” said Mary Williams, teacher and coordinator at Andersen Middle School.

Group photo
St. John’s School senior Vicente Taijeron, right, and freshman Alexander Gayle pose with now Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz. The students won first place in the documentary group division of the Guam History Day competition held in May 2020 for their documentary, “Breaking Barriers: How Benjamin J. Cruz Became the First Openly Gay Supreme Court Justice in America.”

Guam History Day 2020 Winners


High School

Middle School

Research Paper

  • 1st: “Breaking Cultural and Linguistic Barriers: Clotilde Ding Castro Gould, 1930-2002” by Kasey Xu, St. John’s School
  • 2nd: Jenny Mann, St. John’s School
  • 3rd: Seyoung Choung, St. John’s School
  • 1st: “Father Dueñas: The Martyr for God and for Guam” by Kaile Adame, Untalan Middle School

Documentary, Individual

  • 1st: “Agueda Iglesias Johnston: A Chamorro Woman of Breaking Barriers” by Enqi Yang, Harvest Christian Academy
  • 2nd: Jennifer Napalan, Guam High School
  • 3rd: Timothy Hutapea, St. John’s School
  • 1st: “The Battle of Guam” by Jay Whitman, Andersen Middle School
  • 2nd: Emily Burgess, Andersen Middle School

Documentary, Group

  • 1st: “Breaking Barriers: How Benjamin J. Cruz Became the First Openly Gay Supreme Court Justice in America” by Andrew Gayle and Vicente Taijeron, St. John’s School

Exhibit, Individual

  • 1st: “The Revitalization of CHamoru: From the ‘No CHamoru Rule’ to the Use of CHamoru Textbooks in Schools” by Isabella Peng, St. John’s School
  • 2nd: Ave Petra, St. John’s School
  • 3rd: Seungho Kang, St. John’s School
  • 1st: “The Good Medicine Man: Dr. Roman Manalisay Sablan” by Erica Conde, Untalan Middle School
  • 2nd: Alyssa Calilung, Untalan Middle School
  • 3rd: Isabel Conklin, Andersen Middle School

Exhibit, Group

  • 1st: “Guam Demands for U.S. Assistance” by Kristina Kim and Ashley Yang, St. John’s School
  • 2nd: EoJin Kim and Elijah Lizama, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 3rd: Ritisha Raj Kumar and Darua Ounadi, St. John’s School
  • 1st: “Gov. Joseph Flores: Breaking Ground for Local Leadership” by Jayalin Napalan and Anabelle Mansanao, Untalan Middle School
  • 2nd: Leila Franquez and Ariel Untalan, Andersen Middle School
  • 3rd: Destiny Tumbucon and Iris Gueco, Dominican Catholic School

Performance, Individual

  • 1st: “Josef Martinez Ada: Breaking Barriers with a Bar of Soap” by Olivia Wen, St. John’s School

Performance, Group

  • 1st: “Antonio B. Won Pat: Guam’s Ticket to Prosperity” by Kiran Toh and Connor Cruz, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 1st: “The First Lady of Guam” by Neichen Yerten and Michiko Sichiro, Untalan Middle School
  • 2nd: Aaleyah Masga and Maki Sasao, Untalan Middle School

Website, Individual

  • 1st: “Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero: Breaking the Barriers of Neglect” by Mark Wang, St. John’s School
  • 2nd: Jacob Tang, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 3rd: Rory Respicio, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 1st: “The Guam Congress Walkout: Breaking the Shackles for a Better Tomorrow” by Kayana Pangelinan, Untalan Middle School
  • 2nd: Kelvin Lee, St. John’s School
  • 3rd: Nichelle Torcelino, Dominican Catholic School

Website, Group

  • 1st: “Towards Democracy: Carlos Camacho – the First Elected Governor of Guam” by Gabriel Leon Guerrero and Ryan Balatbat, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 2nd: Alton Borja and Edward Guintu, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 3rd: Isaiah Alvendia and Jonah Paulino, Father Dueñas Memorial School
  • 1st: “Cynthia Johnston Torres: Breaking Barriers for Inclusion” by Lorrenne Pennington and Katelyn Cura, Untalan Middle School
  • 2nd: Issa Cosca and Heavenly Santos, Untalan Middle School