17 students participate in poetry and storytelling night

TO promote the Chamorro and Carolinian languages to the younger generation, the folk arts division of the Commonwealth Council for the Arts hosted a Youth Poetry and Storytelling Evening at Garapan Street Market on Thursday, Oct. 12.

Seventeen elementary and middle school students participated in the event, folk arts coordinator Gloriana Teuira said, adding that it was part of the Commonwealth Culture Day celebration that took place on Oct. 9.

“We had a cultural expo on Monday, so we decided to hold this poetry and storytelling event for students within the same week.”

In September, Teuira said they sent out three questions to students: What is it about your culture that makes you happy? What is it about Chamorro or Carolinian that makes you sad? What is it about your culture you would like to change?

“Tonight, the students answered the questions in the form of a story or a poem in Chamorro or Carolinian,” she told Variety.

“The event (seeks) to promote our local languages. This is a good way to practice speaking them. We also wanted to do it in an open area where students can start practicing public speaking to get over the fear of talking in front of many people.”

She added, “There are some kids comfortable doing a presentation but others are scared which is just natural. And overall they did an amazing job.”

Teuira said the event was not exclusive to Chamorros and Carolinians, adding that children who are of Filipino, Korean or Japanese descent also participated.

“I am proud because it is not their first language but they are out there presenting and speaking our local language. We encourage them to speak it. It never hurts to speak another language,” said Teuira who is multi-lingual herself.

Hopwood Middle School student Mary Joice Espinosa said she started learning Refaluwasch this year.

“I am just a beginner but I am learning everyday,” Espinosa said. She wrote a poem about local food, respecting the elders and embracing three cultures: Chamorro, Refaluwasch and Filipino.

Espinosa said she wrote the poem in English and her teacher, Luna Litulumar, helped her translate it in Refaluwasch. Her teacher also taught how to pronounce the words in Refaluwasch.

Indigenous Affairs Office program manager Chris Ogo, who was invited to observe the event, commended the organizers.

“They are really working hard. What Gloria is doing is commendable,” he added. “I told her that the next time she is going to hold this event, our office would be interested to partner with her.”

The Youth Poetry and Storytelling Evening participants:

Kagman Elementary School

Jose Pua

Kenneth Kapileo

Raven Fitial

Iceman Sachuo

Teacher: Gregoria Laniyo

Hopwood Middle School

Jerishna Deleon Guerrero

Zenn Tomokane

Mary Joice Espinosa

Teachers: Monica Pangelinan, Rebecca Sablan, Luna Litulumar

Francisco M. Sablan Middle School

Jayvan Lizama

Nobert Pangelinan

Davian Sato

Vice principal: Carla Sablan

Teacher: Gloria Sablan

Chacha Middle School

Danyan Borja

Brooke Iglecias

Josieleena Cabrera

Zaren Nekaifes

Wynesia Quinata

Alfred Gonzales Jr.

Shawn Jetley

Teacher: Ronnie Aguon

Source: Marianas Variety :

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