From time to time, I receive invitations to join a group on Facebook. Last week, one suggestion from a friend caught my eye called “Adopt A Grad Guam.” I clicked on it and saw photos of different students who are in the class of 2020. Above each post was a caption “adopted” and “not adopted; I immediately got curious and asked for more information.
I found out that it is a group where one can honor a graduate by sending them notes, balloons, gifts, or anything that can make them feel special and let them know that we are thinking of them despite not being able to have a graduation ceremony. I thought it was an excellent idea, so I decided to adopt a grad!
I adopted Alana Salas from George Washington High School. She is the daughter of Anna Tedtaotao & Mario Salas of Sinajana, Guam. Alana’s favorite subject in High school was English, “I love reading poetry and trying to find the deeper meaning behind each line,” according to the graduate. Despite being busy with school work and extracurricular activities, she also served her community by participating in coastal clean-up and volunteered at youth summer camps. She mentioned that her hobby was to play basketball. I had the chance to watch her play, and I can attest that it is more than just a hobby for this girl; she is a talented basketball player, which earned her this year’s IIAAG MVP title.
Let’s get to know her more!
Who was the most influential person to you during your High School, and why?
Alana: “My mom because she always pushes me to do better and to shoot higher. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without her.”
I’m glad that you see the positive side of what your mother has done for you. Many kids miss that aspect, unfortunately. Kudos to you and your Mom!
What are your plans after graduation?
Alana? “I am planning to go to college off- island to hopefully get as far as my masters degree.”
Wow, that’s great! I love a person who has plans, knows what they want in life and know how to get it.
I always thought that it is beneficial to have students be involved in leadership while in High School, did you have any leadership opportunity or experience while you were in school? How was your experience, and what have you learned from it?
Alana: “Yes, I went to a Fiba youth leadership conference in Bali, it was a really good experience for me to learn and see the different things that other people have done for their communities and to see what I can do here for mine. I also learned that it is important to teach the upcoming youth how important is to get involved and to help their community in any way they can if they want to see a positive change in the world.”
Sound like you had an opportunity to travel and learn about other culture and their community. I’m glad that you picked up a very important lesson while you were in Bali and thought of how you can add value to your community as well.
What was the most important thing you’ve learned in HS?
Alana: “The most important thing I learned in high school is to always be tenacious and independence is the building block that you’ll need to succeed in life because you can do anything you set your mind too and no one could ever get in the way of your dreams besides you.“
A smart young lady indeed!
What advice can you give to your friends and students who are still in HS?
Alana: “To the students who are still in high school, my advice to you is that you should really pay attention and take high school seriously because it will really help you when you apply to the colleges you want too. But also don’t take it for granted and have as much fun as you can because once high school ends, your real life begins.“
What great advice?!
“Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, class of 2020 is not able to have a commencement ceremony, or celebrate their graduation. As expected, many are disappointed. How do you feel about this?
Alana: “Through your years of going to school and seeing the generations before you graduate, as a kid, I have always dreamed of walking across the big stage and seeing your whole family be proud of you because all the hard work you have put in finally paid off. Having that experience really meant a lot to me, and not being able to do that really sucks, but we have to move forward and start the new chapter in our lives.“
I understand how you feel and I’m very sorry this happened. I am hoping that we get some normalcy soon so you can celebrate your accomplishments soon. Just remember, YOU DID IT!
Is there anything you would like to say to the class of 2020?
Alana: “Dear class of 2020, I knew it didn’t end the way it was supposed, but we did it, and we should be proud of that. I wish you all the best in the next chapter of you’re lives and remember no one can take your dream away from you unless you give them the power to do it.”
Thank you, Alana! Congratulations, and know that we are very proud of you!
Alana: Thank you for choosing me as your adopt a graduate and also thank you for the gift!! 🙂
You are very welcome! I wish you success in all you do!
I am very grateful to my friend, Vince Borja for inviting me to “Adopt a Grad Guam” group. I can relate to many of the parents who may be disappointed with not seeing their child participate in the long-awaited graduation ceremony of 2020. My son, Isaiah Ewert is also a class of 2020 at Liberty University in Virginia. We have been looking forward to seeing him walk and receive his diploma this month. We are elated to hear that their commencement was not canceled, but postponed until September. We are praying that we will have the opportunity to celebrate then. I am praying that somehow other schools and universities will be given a chance to do the same. In the meantime, let’s be creative in celebrating the class of 2020, perhaps you can adopt a grad?
Ways to celebrate a graduate:
- Send a note
- Send a Gift Card
- Send them Books
- Donate to an organization/Charity in honor of the graduate
- Do a shout out the graduate on your Social Media
There are many ways to make the class of 2020 feel special, be creative! Please make sure you coordinate with parents and continue to practice social distancing protocol. For information about Adopt a Grad Guam please click the FB link below. As part of Alana’s gift, I donated to Guahan Paws for Pets Gofundme page. You can find their FB link below.
STAY SAFE EVERYONE!