A FILIPINO-American topped the graduating class for school year 2017 of a prestigious international school in Saipan.
Lenard Gabriel Sarmiento Marcial got the highest award given to a student who achieved academic and spiritual excellence. He was among the 32 students who graduated this year from Eucon International School.
Specifically, Sarmiento received the President’s award while another Asian American, Xin Wen Zhang, received the Dean’s Award, the second highest academic award.
In his speech, Marcial thanked the Eucon International School and his teachers.
“It was here that I matured in both my relationship with God and with others. My family and I have found a home and a family here,” he said.
To his teachers, he said “thank you for the generous bonus points, extra credit projects and delays of quizzes that we were not ready for, but importantly, thank you for the discipline, the papers, the pop-quizzes and endless lectures. At the time we may have resented those things, but looking back we realize they were blessings, not curses.”
“This may be a happy time, but do not let this short-term success stop you from reaching higher degrees of excellence and education for the glory of God. Today may have marked the end of our education, but not the end of our learning. We have finally left the rigorous safety net of both Eucon and our parents and now step into the real world where we will face even stronger temptations and persecution, but be not afraid, for Christ has overcome the world,” Marcial told his fellow graduates.
In an interview with Marcial, he said he will stay in Eucon for one semester to further his spiritual excellence.
“Then, I will go to the States and take pre-medicine, hopefully become a missionary-doctor one day,” he said, adding that he was accepted at Pensacola Christian College.
Throughout her stay at Eucon, Zhang said she came to know many good and helpful friends.
“It was my first time to leave home and live in dormitory when I came to Saipan. Though we are from different areas in the world, God gathered us and made us live well together. I felt comfortable with my friends. When I think of our laughter, tears and comforts, some silly but funny things that we did, I cannot help but always smile.”
Since her arrival in 2013, Zhang said she became more independent.
“I know how to take care of myself in this new place. I learn how to get along with my roommates, and how to self study. I learned many precious things in Saipan and developed many skills that I might never learned if I had never come here.” She counted these as blessings.
Zhang is planning to take finance-related course in one of the Christian schools in Arkansas.
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