The new team strikes a pose at Mt. Tapochau, ready to rock a new year! In the front, from left to right: Nicole French (7/8 homeroom and science teacher), Cristina Sanchez (1/2 classroom), Twyla (new dental hygienist).
In the middle: Megan "Mocca" McCollum (office assistant), Babs,Angie Perez (kindergarten teacher), Jaimie Nickell (pre-school teacher, Crystal Pierson.
In the back: Andrea Stafford (wife of one of our dentists, Mike Stafford) with her daughter, and Mike Stafford (dentist at the clinic) and his son. Missing are the photographers Ken Pierson and me, and also Amy Foote, our preschool director who had to take some of the students who went with us home and so left the Island tour earlier.
I'm back in Saipan and all things are new once again, as they are every year at this time. A new school year, a new team of colleagues, even a new dental hygienist over at the clinic--and very soon now, a new member of the Maycock family. It's a new chapter in our lives and it promises to be the most adventurous one yet!
I landed back in Saipan on Thursday evening, August 7, with Nicole, Megan, Cristina, and Jaimie (Angie arrived the next afternoon, flying through Japan). Friday, began the traditional round of activities that begin a new school year in Saipan. The teachers got their CNMI driver's licenses, officially making them local residents; picked up their health cards; and got their first look at their island home.
Friday night, the new team gathered for the first time at our house for a candlelight supper of pasta, salad, and garlic bread. The pasta was courtesy of one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Capricciossa's, the salad was Barbara's signature Greek mix, and the candlelight was courtesy of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation who welcomed the new teachers with a Saipan blackout.
Jamie, Nicole, and Megan eating by candlelight.
Returning veteran Amy Foote, our preschool director, hamming it up with the son of one our school board members.
Our preschool teachers, all returning veterans, load up on pasta at the dining room table.
Yay! The power is back! Note Nicole wastes no time in whipping out her laptop to surf the net.
On Sabbath the teachers were introduced to the church:
Babs, far right introduces (from l to r) Angie, Cristina, Megan, Nicole and Jaimie at church on Sabbath morning, August 9, 2008. What's truly remarkable is that a month earlier only one of these women--Nicole French--had any idea she'd be spending the next year in Saipan.
For Sabbath School a new musical group debuted: "The Clinic Boys" featuring dental director Ken Pierson, dentist Mike Stafford, maintanance chief Rolly Verzon, office staff member Frank Diaz, and chief financial officer Ernie Lacorte. They sounded pretty good!
This photo's for Judith! That's one of "your" kids enjoying the pop rocks you sent him!
Sabbath afternoon, we took the new teachers out for the traditional First Sabbath Island Tour. We hit all the key spots--Banzai, the Last Command Post, Bird Island, the Grotto, Suicide Cliff and even managed to make it up to Mt. Tapochau in time for sunset.
Nicole, Jaimie, and Megan soaking up the Saipan sun. It was a hot afternoon!
Checking out Bird Island.
In the Grotto
All new teachers have to have a photo with the Pierson Truck! Megan's in the center with Angie, Cristina, Jaimie, and Nicole surrounding her clockwise.
It was a remarkable afternoon. In addition to being unsually hot, the water was very calm and clear. You could actually see the currents running in the sea (they're the lighter streaks in the water pictured above). The sky didn't look particularly clear--there were clouds and some haze--but the visibility was incredible. We could see Anatahan, the next island north of Saipan and the home to an active volcanco, from Suicide Cliff. You can see it too, if you click on this photo to make it bigger--the outline of the island is in the center of the photo. From the top of Mt. Tapochau we could see Tinian, Goat Island, and even Rota to the south of us.
The gang gathers at the crest of Suicide Cliff
Standing on top of the world--the peak of Mt. Tapochau: On the left is our new dental hygeinist at the clinic, Twyla (her last name seems to have slipped my mind, but when I remember it I will return and edit this post to add it in). She inherits Bev's mantle and so far displays a similar active and adventurous spirit. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.
Angie and Nicole windblown at the summit of Topochau.
I love this photo of Babs! Man, I'm a lucky guy!
Babs n' Me--ready for what comes next. . .