Simon Sanchez students voice frustration over renovation delays

Without this funding, GDOE would be unable to move forward with the long-awaited project that affects the health and safety of over 1,800 Simon Sanchez High School students.

“For years, we’ve waited for something to be done about the school,” remarked student Hacie San Jose.

Guam – After nearly five years of renovation delays, the students of Simon Sanchez High School are speaking out against the stalled procurement.

“We’re being neglected so much and it’s getting to a point where I’m getting irritated,” said Simon Sanchez student Amber Capitulo.

Fellow student leader Matthew Pascual chimed in, “Around the first two months of school, they were fixing the classrooms while we were in class. During school time, it kind of made people feel a little unsafe because there’s loose tools going around.”

Students Amber and Matthew are both seniors who spent their entire high school at Simon Sanchez believing they would have a renovated campus by graduation. Instead, the students have waited through nearly five years of procurement delays.

Today, they joined dozens of upperclassmen during a press conference in the dilapidated campus to voice their frustration.

“For years, we’ve waited for something to be done about the school,” remarked student Hacie San Jose. “Students, faculty, and staff are frustrated by how childish it is to dodge such a concern. Never make promises that you don’t plan on keeping.”

San Jose, an 11th grade student, led the press conference and was flanked by Mayor Rudy Matanane, who echoed similar concerns.

“Let me tell you that I’ve been saying if they don’t fix the procurement process, GW, Southern High, and any other school going through the same thing will be saved,” the Yigo mayor said.

Even faculty joined the discussion.

“It’s been six years and we continue to see a failed DPW, a failed leadership, and a failed government to live up to the basic duties to provide an adequate education and that means providing facilities that are conducive to learning,” vented Andri Baynum, a teacher at Simon Sanchez. He added, “We would like a contract to be signed by the end of the year and for school year 18-19 to start building a school.”

The students joined together in support of Bill 204, authored by Senator Frank Aguon Jr. If passed, the measure would grant the Department of Education full procurement control alongside the Attorney General for the Simon Sanchez rebuild.

The measure would also effectively remove the Department of Public Works entirely –a move the Sharks say they fully support.

“Five years is long enough. We’ve seen DPW have five opportunities to correct whatever problems or issues and still to no avail? They weren’t able to do this. And so, it’s one of two things: either DPW is incompetent which I don’r believe or they’re doing this on purpose which I do believe. So, we have to remove the politics from this equation,” Baynum quipped.

The students of Simon Sanchez are not the only ones who have waited for movement on the lucrative project.

Just last week, Governor Eddie Baza Calvo also called for the Office of Public Accountability to dismiss the latest protest.

Senator Frank Aguon Jr. in a similar move announced today that he’s urging for the Attorney General to dismiss the protest as well. He adds, “The time is now to solve this problem.”

But even if a decision was made within the 2018-2019 timeline, seniors like Matthew and Amber will have already graduated before renovations take place.

“It just hurts me that all of our books and classrooms are just unbearable to be in. And it’s just funny how we got used to it and it’s just really sad that we get to live with this and we put up with it. Sometimes, you got to make do and sometimes this is too much.”