Hafa Adai! Welcome to Guam and in particular to Upi Elementary School. Because faculty and students at our school are so transient, this is an attempt to gradually build a page to give a small introduction to what you can expect when you arrive. As with the people at our school, this page will be ever changing and growing.
My itchy feet took me away from my beloved home state of Pennsylvania several years ago (we won't say how many) to join the Air Force. As an enlisted member I served as an Avionics Inertial Navigations Systems Specialists on F-4 aircraft at Homestead AFB, FL and Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. I then served as a Training Manager at Eglin AFB, FL. After being accepted into the AFROTC program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, I completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in University Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Occupational/Vocational Education. I returned to active duty as a Transportation Officer at Myrtle Beach AFB, SC followed by assignments to Osan AB, Korea and back to Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. I left the service in 1992 to return to school at Mansfield University, Mansfield, Pennsylvania receiving certification in Elementary Education.
Living in Asia affords one the opportunity to have many travel experiences which I have chosen to take advantage of. I've traveled to Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. My favorite vacations included bicycling from Wellington to Queenstown, New Zealand and biking back into the villages of the hilltribes of Northern Thailand. The beaches in Thailand and Bali offer a most relaxing vacation for a change of pace.
I have been teaching on Guam since February 1994 when I finished out the school year as a Kindergarten teacher. I then transferred to second grade where I taught for two years. I'm now teaching third grade. It has certainly been a unique experience. While Guam is part of the United States, the people have their own language, culture and traditions. Many of our students are Chamorro (the local culture). Others are from the neighboring islands (Micronesia) including Palau, Chuuk, Saipan and Pohnpei. Others are from the Philippines. The biggest percentage of students are dependents of military personnel stationed with the United States Air Force or Navy on Andersen Air Force Base. They bring in exposure to additional cultures of the world.
Guam schools have been called the nation's most ethnically diverse. As a result the students spend a lot of time in Social Studies and Language Arts learning about the countries their classmates have family members in. United Nation's Day in October is a major production as is Chamorro Weeks in February and March. We strive to instill in the students a pride in who they are and to emphasize how lucky we are to know people from so many different cultures and to be able to learn from their experiences.
Upi Elementary has approximately 1200 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Instruction begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. Kindergarten and first grade have a 15 minute afternoon recess and a 45 minute lunch/recess. All other grades have a 15 minute morning recess and a 45 minute lunch/recess. Our cafeteria serves breakfast as well as lunch. There is no after school program, however, the Andersen AFB Youth Center has a program for military dependents.
Thanks go out to SSgt James Denton, 36 Transportation Squadron, Andersen AFB, Guam, for his patience in teaching me about the Internet and building home pages. His persistence has created a monster, or at least another internet addict. From this individual class page we hope to eventually expand to a school page.
Mrs. Bonnie Brown