While our youth and our community, in general, face a host of challenges, there are opportunities that we can steer our young children to young adults toward – in the hopes they will be among those whose successes will bring pride to our island someday.

The Guam Department of Education Gifted and Talented Education for prekindergarten children is open for applicants.

Many of our young professionals today went through the GATE program in public elementary schools and that helped provide them with a more solid foundation that in turn boosted their confidence to aim to excel.

GATE Pre-K is specifically designed for gifted 4-year-olds and provides a balance between learning acceleration and enrichment activities that meet students' physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs, according to GDOE.

Federally funded for every dollar it needs, the program is open to children who are 4 years old by July 31 of each school year and who pass the eligibility testing and screening. The program is currently offered through nine programs at seven school sites including Machananao Elementary School, Astumbo Elementary School, M.U. Lujan Elementary School, Carbullido Elementary School, Harry S. Truman Elementary School, and two programs each at Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School and Price Elementary School.

There's still time to apply. Drop in at the GATE office located in Tiyan at 501 Mariner Ave., Building B, third floor Suite 313. Applications also are available online at www.sites.google.com/gdoe.net/guam-gate. For more information, call the GATE office at 300-3687/1247.

On the higher education front, the University of Guam's engineering program has achieved a much-awaited milestone.

The two-year pre-engineering program at UOG will evolve into a four-year Bachelor of Science in Civil-Engineering program starting in fall 2019, following approval from the UOG Board of Regents on Wednesday.

“The availability of an engineering degree here in Guam will meet growing demand among prospective students as well as a chronic need for engineers in the workforce in Guam and the Western Pacific,” Shahram Khosrowpanah, dean of the School of Engineering, said in a UOG news release.

Enrollment in the program continues to increase, he said, with an almost 20 percent increase over the course of last semester. As of December, the program has 159 declared pre-engineering majors, UOG stated.

Then-President Robert Underwood started the efforts which were encouraged by the engineering community and some of Guam's construction industry movers.

Following Underwood's retirement, UOG President Thomas Krise's leadership at the local university continued with the efforts to ensure Guam's future engineers would no longer have to leave Guam to pursue their dreams. 

“Our School of Engineering is the only engineering program in the Western Pacific, and we are proud that students can now not only start, but finish, a first-class engineering program close to home,” Krise said.

There are other programs that will help our young children and young adults with the right educational environment that will help set their paths to brighter, productive futures ahead.

We need more of these programs, and we need to hear more of these types of positive things.

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