FALSE: Imee Marcos was ‘class valedictorian’ from California boarding school

Mara Cepeda

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FALSE: Imee Marcos was ‘class valedictorian’ from California boarding school
'While the student you inquired about attended our school for a brief period in the fall of 1972, she is not a graduate,' says Santa Catalina School assistant head of school John Aimé

FALSE. Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos claims she was class valedictorian from the Santa Catalina School in California. File photo of Marcos by Maria Tan/Rappler

CLAIM: Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos was “class valedictorian” from the Santa Catalina Convent, now called Santa Catalina School, in Monterey, California.

In her curriculum vitae posted in the website of the House of Representatives during her time as congresswoman, Marcos claimed she was “class valedictorian” from the California boarding school and received an advancement placement in English, history, and arts.

The same CV stated 4 other schools she attended for her secondary education:

  • American School in Makati, now named the International School of Manila (ISM)

  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for acting and playwriting

  • Royal Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in London, United Kingdom

  • Convent of the Holy Child Jesus in Mayfield, Sussex, England

This CV, however, was already removed from the House website. Rappler was able to keep a copy before it was taken down.


The facts: Santa Catalina School’s assistant head of school John Aimé told Rappler that Marcos did not graduate from the institution. This means she cannot be class valedictorian either.

Rappler asked Aimé to confirm if Marcos had graduated as class valedictorian from their school and if so, what academic years she attended.

According to Aimé, Marcos indeed studied at the Santa Catalina School for a “brief period” in 1972. But she did not graduate.

“While the student you inquired about attended our school for a brief period in the fall of 1972, she is not a graduate,” he said.

When asked if any reasons were given for Marcos’ departure from the school, Aimé said Santa Catalina School does “not discuss student records without the permission of the student.”

Rappler already sought Marcos for her comment, but she has not replied as of posting time.

Rappler then tried to verify with ISM if Marcos had finished her secondary education there. ISM was the school listed in Princeton University’s records as the one Marcos had attended before she pursued the course on religion and politics at the American university for a couple of months between 1973 and 1979. 

ISM refused to give any details.

“IS Manila follows a very strict Data Privacy Policy and we unfortunately do not provide information about our Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni,” said a representative of ISM’s alumni office operating their official email address, alumni@ismanila.org.

Princeton deputy university spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss already said Marcos did not finish her degree at the prestigious university.

Marcos also falsely claimed in the same CV that she graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law. This was already debunked by UP Executive Vice President Teodoro Herbosa.

The same CV indicated that she has an MA in Management and Business Administration from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), a degree that was never offered at AIM, according to the school’s registrar.  Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.