Joaquin Cook – Class of 1997


This month we catch up with Joaquin Cook as he shares his journey towards a career in the banking industry and his passion for effectuating change for the better.

 What year did you graduate from St. John’s School?

Class of 1997…Started SJS 1st Grade in 1985

What did you do the year following High School graduation?

Moved to San Diego and attended UC San Diego

Can you tell us about the career path you chose after college?

After college I moved back home and continued working for Bank of Guam. I had held various positions there throughout high school starting from mailroom clerk. After obtaining my degree, I entered the Bank’s Management Trainee program and became a loan officer for the company.  After a few years, I returned to school for graduate studies, earning my Masters in Business Administration in 2006 before returning home to Guam and starting my family and my career.

Outside of work, what other activities/organizations are you involved in?

I involve myself with several organizations through my work.  One of my favorites is the Make-a-Wish Guam & CNMI Chapter.  I truly believe in the power of hope, love and positivity.  Make a Wish helps children with life-altering conditions and the glimmer and shine you see in their eyes and the smiles on their faces when granting wishes reminds me how powerful those good feelings can be.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family: wife and 4 daughters who are all currently Knights.  I also enjoy golfing, bbq, boating…really any activity that is done outdoors and ends in some sort of sun burn.

 What do you enjoy most about your current career position?

The ability to help people and effectuate change for the better.  The gratification of helping someone buy their first home, send a child to college or start their dream business is so rewarding.  It truly is one of the best feelings.

How did you become interested in your field of study or work?

I grew up in a banking family and was always inspired by my grandfather.  I saw first hand how his kindness and generosity and true care for the people of our community helped to create the wonderful home we call Guam.  Through banking, he was able to help build businesses and improve the quality of life for many.

How has attending St. John’s prepared you for success in college and in the workplace?

St. John’s teaches you the benefits of operating within a small community and small group of close friends…your inner circle.  Because of the time spent together at St. John’s and how intimately you are able to get to know each other, the relationships created in elementary, middle and high school last for a lifetime.  To this day, some of my closest friends are friends that I spent some time with at St. John’s.  That circle of trust is important for everyone as they embark on their educational and professional career.  It doesn’t matter who you are or how far you’ve gone, you always need close friends to lean on.

From a practical application standpoint, St. John’s taught me how to handle and manage stress without missing a beat.  The load of work dumped on you while at St. John’s is the best preparation for life in college, graduate school and in your career.  Learning to deal with multi-tasking, managing school and social obligations, operating on fractions of hours of sleep all build a foundation that is hard to shake in the adult world. 

Do you still keep in touch with your St. John’s School friends?

Yes.  Most of them.  This I did even before the age of IG, FB and other social platforms.  As I said earlier, the friendships and relationships forged at St. John’s are life long ones.

What experiences from St. John’s are the most memorable? Do you have a favorite teacher, mentor or counselor?

The most memorable thing at St. John’s for me is how you are able to know everyone and everyone knows you.  It is easy to be very active and involved in a multitude of activities at St. John’s and because of the history of the school as a leader, you have the opportunity to work with and be the best.  I remember winning soccer titles, being there for the undefeated basketball season, debate battles in the NFL…so many things. 

There are many teachers along the way that stand out.  To me, the ones I remember most are the ones you really love and the ones you love to hate. 🙂  Just to name a few of the characters over the years:  Mrs. Tufvander, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Flores, Ms. Van Aarendonk, Mrs. Deagle, Mrs. Hull, Mr. Kelley, Mr. Pearson, Ms. Glisman, Coach Shep, Coach Renfro, Mr. L, Mrs. Skanse, Mrs. Johnson….holy smokes there are a lot of them that have contributed in their own unique ways.  Of course we can’t leave out the big bad bosses either…Father Moore, Mr. Tooman (and Mrs. Tooman!!), Dr. J, Mrs. Santos…too many to mention that were all a part of the SJS community.

What would you say to a prospective family who is considering St. John’s School?

Easy…do it.  The drive and aspirations of the community at St. John’s will bring the best out in your children.  The large majority of students at St. John’s want to be better, do more, help however they can and that attitude is contagious.  My girls go there and I already see them creating friendships with people who I also see as very decent people…the leaders, innovators and artists of tomorrow.

The experience you get at St. John’s is priceless (at least I like to think mine was).  The school is not cheap but the years spent there were worth it.  That said, no place is perfect and there is always room for improvement.  That is always the case.  The school leadership, faculty and staff at St. John’s, in my opinion, have the interests of all the students at heart.  In order for St. John’s to continue to be the leader that it has been for years, the community needs to be representative and consist of the best and brightest our island has to offer.  If you are looking for a school that will challenge your children and make sure that they are best equipped for life after…hands down it’s an easy decision.

Anything else you would like to add?

I was in no way paid or given any sort of compensation for my remarks above.  I truly feel that St. John’s is a great school and if the opportunity is there to attend, it should be taken.  🙂


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