Students hold "Rebuild Sanchez High Now" expo for parents - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Students hold "Rebuild Sanchez High Now" expo for parents

by Krystal Paco

Guam - It started as an English project aimed to encourage students to find solutions to problems facing them. And a senior class at Simon Sanchez High School is going above and beyond to make one solution a reality.

Students are making it loud and clear for the whole island to hear - they want a new school and they want it now.

Seniors Mariel Villaluz and Derrick Evangelista say all of this is part of their class' "Leave Your Mark Project". This year, the class has set their sights on getting lawmakers to act fast and rebuild their old school now.

At today's parent teacher conference, the class hosted a parent information expo to get moms and dads up to speed on just how bad the aged, Yigo facility really is.

Villaluz said, "The parents should know how its really unsafe how the students go here every day and one day the ceiling could just fall on them without even knowing and that should worry the parents because it's the school's responsibility to take care of the students while they're at school.

Evangelista added, "After really going into this project, the leave your mark project, it really showed how bad our school structure is. It really surprised a lot of us and we didn't know we were coming to a school this dangerous with an old building for a structure."

Villaluz says many parents also signed a petition to fix the school now, rather than wait until an accident happens.

"A lot of them have been saying "yes we want a new school finally someone is doing something about it," she said.

As of noon, over 200 signed on, including alumna and mother, Ruth Sabangan. Sabangan's daughter Janea tells KUAM she's only in the ninth grade, but hopes her upperclassmen are successful with getting the school renovated or rebuilt in time for her senior year.

"She mentioned about the stairs being unsafe and I remember the time when they had a typhoon, it was so flooded inside and outside. So that's a big concern. We think it needs to be rebuilt right away. I use to be here. I used to come here and I told her it didn't look the same as before it was prettier then. but that was so many years ago so I think its time for it to be rebuilt," she said. "The safety. It's pretty hot. I would like to have classes that are cool where I can focus and probably go to bathrooms that are clean and sanitary."

We should note, Public Law 32-63 provides $7 million in real property taxes to fund the replacement or renovation of the school.

Also Bill 182, introduced by Senator Brant McCreadie, would provide another million dollars in business privilege tax bonds to replace or renovate the school.

At the most recent Guam Education Board meeting, DOE superintendent Jon Fernandez provided updates to members saying he would like to start conversations with stakeholders this month on whether to pursue renovations or a full replacement of the campus.

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