Simon Sanchez reflects on FD’s 70th

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Guam – It was a big draw for a good cause, lunchtime Monday at Father Duenas Memorial School. The all-boys preparatory high school celebrated 70 years with a high-dollar raffle fundraiser to help bring in the money it needs for a major campus improvement undertaking called “The Renaissance Project”, including a new football stadium and swimming pool.

Raffle tickets sold for $100 each. Grand prize is a 2018 Acura MDX Base 4×4 sports utility vehicle or a 2018 F150 STX Super Crew 404 “Magma Red” pickup truck. Even the baby grand prize is set at $5,000 cash. It’s all to help the FD Friars make better use of their surroundings and massively improve their sports program, especially for a top tier football squad  that enjoys championship victory after championship victory without the considerable benefit of its own game-ready field.

But sports isn’t everything at the  memorial school. Academics certainly rank up there, and the Golden Rule remains priority number one. PNC reached out to Class of ’74 grad Simon Sanchez for his take on FD’s “Strength in Faith” ethos.

“We were brought up to be strong in the faith — that is our core slogan,” Sanchez told PNC. “We were brought up in the Catholic tradition, but we also welcomed other young men from other faiths. The idea of faith and service–I think–runs through Father Duenas in the pursuit of excellence and the pursuit of education and to just serve other people. I think that’s the strongest message, and when you look around the world and see what FD graduates have done, you’ll see a lot of FD graduates who have been committed to that lifetime of service in their community.”

Sanchez also reminds students and grads alike to never  forget the school’s namesake, Father Jesus Baza Duenas, the Chamorro martyr who made the ultimate sacrifice in his  personal commitment to the Catholic Church and a life dedicated in service to others for a Christian cause that was bigger than any one man could ever be. Father Duenas was killed on Guam by Imperial Japanese occupying forces during World War II.

“Father Duenas gave his life to make sure that the people of Guam were treated right,” Sanchez said.

“He sacrificed his life for his faith. That’s the ultimate sacrifice that none of us–that very few of us–are called upon to make. But the sacrifices that we can make every day is to treat each other well, treat our families well, love our fellow man, work hard and be good people and try to spread that kind of approach to life.”

According to Guampedia.org, it was on Oct. 1, 1948 that Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner established Father Duenas Memorial School as a minor seminary and high school for young men near the site of Father Duenas’s martyrdom.