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Marianas Variety: 600 students want to ‘Start Smart’ (February 28, 2019)

ABOUT 600 senior high school students attended the Start Smart event hosted by Northern Marianas College in the Hyatt Regency Saipan Ballroom on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

NMC Enrollment Services Director Manny Castro said they talked about getting ready for college and the financial aid available to students.

NMC has been holding Start Smart seminars for students since 2009 to increase the community’s awareness about the benefits of higher education, Castro added.

Among the guests on Wednesday was Northern Marianas Humanities Council Executive Director Leo Pangelinan.

He said the students he talked to are eager to go to college.

“I shared my college experiences with them, and answered questions that they might have,” Pangelinan added.

Talking with and getting advice from people in different career fields allow the students to get first-hand information about college, Castro said.

Among the participating students were Michael Hambros of Saipan Southern High School, Christian Espinosa of Marianas High School, and Reica Ramirez of Mount Carmel School.

“College can be really scary with all those unknown possibilities, but the guest speakers reminded us that there are millions of opportunities that we can get when we go to college,” Ramirez said.

Espinosa agreed. “The opportunities provided in college are endless,” he said. “College is meant to shape the person’s identity and career so he or she can establish a really important role in society. I feel that Start Smart helps us establish that role.”

Hambros said he was “scared” of going to college but the Start Smart seminar and the guest speakers provided him with a different perspective about college. “It’s going to be hard but it’s going to be worth it. I have nothing to worry about because I will have a support system,” he added.

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