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GDOE SCHOOLS REAFFIRM COMMITMENT TO ISA

PRESS RELEASE – Administrators and Athletic Directors from each of Guam’s public high schools met on Monday to further preparations for the Guam Department of Education (GDOE) Interscholastic Sports Association (ISA). During this meeting, all public schools reaffirmed their commitment to the GDOE league and expressed their intent on moving forward. Additionally, the schools expressed their desire to have their private school counterparts join them as either full participants in the ISA league or through inter-league competition.

Chairman of the Guam Education Board (GEB) Mark Mendiola was in attendance and offered his support of the schools’ efforts.  Mendiola clarified with the group that when the GEB made the decision to have the GDOE manage its own league, it was not to stop the public and private schools from playing against each other.

“We wanted our department leadership as a whole to be more proactive in our sports program and take greater ownership. We felt that we needed to give each of you a chance to produce a sports program that will help our schools thrive,” he said.

During School Year 2018-2019, the GEB Committee on School Safety held five work sessions starting in November 2018. Two of these work sessions included an invitation to the IIAAG, which was represented by then-President Randy Kakigi, and a general public forum where current IIAAG president Terri Debold, was present and provided testimony.

“This was not a decision we made overnight, and I want to make sure that I am representing our entire organization as we move forward,” said Mendiola. “I have confidence that we can co-exist with the private schools – we are currently doing it in the middle schools, so I know we can have a successful program in the high schools as well.”  

“On behalf of John F. Kennedy High School, we continue to support running our own league,” said JFKHS assistant principal and long-time coach and athlete Jay Antonio. “We’ve gone through a long process to make sure it was the right decision for our students.”

The rugby and girls’ softball leagues are expected to have both public and private school teams participating, while the boys’ basketball and tennis leagues will have individual champions in the IIAAG and in the ISA leagues.

“Those champions could meet at the end of the season for a ‘unifying’ or ‘island-wide’ title so to speak,” said acting Sports Program Coordinator Al Garrido. “We are very interested in having our public schools compete with the private schools, and this is something we can all agree on. However, we also feel very strongly that we need to take responsibility for running our own league,” he said.

“The decision was made and Southern High School supports it,” Southern High School athletic director Marvin Linder said. “We have done a lot of good work moving forward and I think we should at least complete the first two years and then reevaluate the league.”

For more information on the ISA league and third quarter sports for GDOE high schools, please feel free to contact Acting Sports Program Coordinator Al Garrido at the Division of Curriculum and Instruction via email at algarrido@gdoe.net or at 300-1377.

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