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JFK High rallies support for new campus

by Michele Catahay

Guam - The JFK High School community continues to gather support to encourage the Guam Community Improvement Foundation to allow the construction of JFK to start immediately. In fact, they went to the Guam Premier Outlets today to garner that support in hopes to gather 3,000 signatures.

JFK stakeholders went around the Guam Premier Outlets in Tamuning today seeking support for a petition encouraging the Guam Community Improvement Foundation To stop with the politics and move forward with the construction of the new campus. Young Islanders want the company to abide by a recent Superior Court ruling, which sided against the Foundation in its effort to stop construction.

Sophomores Crystal Besabe and Shannon Wong say they just want their own place to call home, with the former telling KUAM News, "I think it's important for us because we need a home and we've been through a lot of things and we just want to have JFK built as soon as possible."  The latter noted, "I don't know how it really feels to step onto a new JFK campus, and I want to really experience what my parents experienced as they went through that school and I just want to feel like I'm at home."

JFK math teacher Ken Murphy says it's been difficult not just for the students, but the teachers as well. In fact, they've been forced to adjust.  "I think the kids, too - we're being shuffled around. We do have a following of students who want to stay within district, so they often move around. I think a large part too is pride. It's like being a renter. Sometimes if you're renting, you're not too diligent about up keeping your residency but if it's your school, it's your responsibility to upkeep," he explained.

The attorney general and the Health and Safety Task Force shut down the Upper Tumon campus in 2008 after the group found the school to be unsafe and unfit for students. For the first year, students had to deal with double sessions at George Washington High School; then in the second year, they were placed in a temporary campus in Tiyan where the government paid $5,000,000 for its use for the school year.

The appeal made by the Foundation recently could possibly delay the construction within another two or three years.

JFK High teacher Angelo Andres is hoping for the company to reconsider, saying, "We're appealing to them because enough is enough. The appeal has already been made to the Department of Public Works, the Attorney General's Office, the Office of Public Accountability, and most recently the Superior Court of Guam - and all of those entities have denied the appeal, so we really hope and pray that Tony Sgro and Core Tech don't appeal it to the Superior Court, and I really hope we can move forward with this."

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