Dedicated educator

Luis Palomo Untalan Middle School, more commonly known as Untalan Middle School, was established in 1958 as Barrigada Junior High School. It was renamed in honor of the Guam teacher after a public law was passed and enacted on 22 October 1978. In 1982, when the Guam Department of Education established the middle school concept within the local school system, the school changed to its current name: Luis Palomo Untalan Middle School.

Untalan was born on 19 October 1906, in the village of Hagåtña and was the ninth and last child of Jose Guzman and Ana Blas Palomo Untalan. He attended the Armasen, Number One and Padre Palomo schools in Hagåtña from 1913 to 1923. He began teaching at Piti Elementary School in 1923. He graduated from the Guam Evening High School in 1929 and in 1958 earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Guam. He later received a masters degree in education from Colorado State College.

Untalan was a survivor of the Manenggon concentration camp during World War II. His account of the experience was written and published by Tony Palomo in Pacific Profiles.

In 1950, Untalan married Lagrimas Pereira Leon Guerrero and together they raised two children, Ana Maria and Eric Joseph. Lagrimas Untalan passed away in 1997.

Luis Untalan pursued several interests throughout his life. He managed the Blue Room restaurant after World War II and had a retail business called Untalan Department Store.

After Typhoon Karen devastated Guam and the family businesses in 1962, Untalan concentrated his efforts on teaching full-time. He is credited with introducing creative evening social events and various information-exchange activities at school, to provide a bridge between schools and village communities.

In addition to his love of teaching, Untalan was fond of telling and writing stories. While serving as school principal of a Talo’fo’fo school, he submitted articles about life in Guam for publication in the Guam Recorder, a periodical at the time.

Untalan was recognized by the Guam Legislature for 33 years of teaching and his contributions to education in Guam. In the early 1970s, Untalan retired from the Government of Guam after nearly five decades of service.

In the 1980’s Untalan and his family moved to Hawaii where he died 1 December 1990, at the age of 84.

By Patricia Long Diego

For further reading

Luis P. Untalan Middle School. “About.” Last modified 22 November 2020.

Peredo, Pedro. “Wartime Memories” Pacific Profile 3, no. 6 (July 1965): 17-18.