Wednesday, November 21, 2012


At one time, Guam had a Normal School.

Normal?  This was an old term used for a school that taught high school graduates how to be primary school teachers.  The idea was for school teachers to all use the same teaching norms, hence "normal."

Even during Spanish times, at least one Chamorro, Luis Diaz Torres, was sent to the Escuela Normal in Manila to get training as a teacher.  Torres returned to Guam and taught at the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, Hagåtña's highest school, and became headmaster of it at one point.

But teacher training was really limited on Guam in Spanish times.

The Americans tried a little harder.  They took their best pupils in their teens and trained them to be teachers.  My grandmother was one of them; she started teaching 6-year-olds when she herself was 16 or 17!

In 1917, the students at the Normal School in Hagåtña were tested.  Here are the top five who scored highest :

RITA P. DUARTE (1st) (Score of 98.6) - Rita was the daughter of a prominent Spanish civil servant, Pedro Duarte y Andújar.  Pedro served in both the Spanish colonial government of the Marianas as well as the American.  Rita maternal grandmother was Chamorro, Emilia Castro Anderson.  The Duartes eventually left Guam, for Manila and the U.S. mainland.

IGNACIA BORDALLO BUTLER (2nd) (93.5) - Daughter of the Spaniard Baltazar Bordallo and wife of the American Chester Butler.  Her mother was Chamorro, Rita Pangelinan of the Kotla clan.  A fuller biography of Ignacia can be found at

JUAN ROSARIO (3rd) (92.2)

AGUEDA IGLESIAS JOHNSTON (4th) (91.7) - Wife of William G. Johnston and future head of Guam's education department.  Her bio can be found at

MARIA ROSARIO (5th) (87.4) - I am unsure of her identity as she may have married later and is more known by her married name, but she was single when this test was taken.

Out of 26 students at the Normal School, my grandmother, Maria Torres Perez, placed 14th in the results with a score of 67.6.  She was a school teacher and principal for much of her life before WW2.

No comments:

Post a Comment