Dr. Bobby Cruz ’18, Dr. Yvonne Pangelinan ’18,
and Dr. Rizalina Liwag ’18.
“The Northern Mariana Islands experienced the worst storm in its history in October 2018. Super Typhoon Yutu ripped through Saipan and Tinain with wind speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Dr. Bobby Cruz, Dr. Rizalina Liwag, and I are all school administrators and district officials who were completing our Doctor of Education degrees and preparing for commencement.

We spent many days managing shelters and helping with the recovery efforts in our school system and private organizations. It took 50 days for schools to begin reopening, and most of the islands were still without electricity and water well into December.

In February, Dr. Liwag moved her 900 middle school students and 68 teachers and staff to a temporary campus built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through FEMA.

Dr. Cruz and I were especially committed to building resiliency in our students and families by promoting self-care techniques and mindfulness. It is our charge as Walden alumni to promote social change to build one another up in the face of such a catastrophe.

The three of us sacrificed repairing our homes to come to commencement in January, bringing our flag with us so that the rest of our colleagues could see the Marianas’ strength and resilience in us.”
— As told by Dr. Yvonne Pangelinan ’18

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