Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan was presented Saturday with Mount Carmel School’s “AlumKnight of the Year” award.
In his acceptance speech, Sablan dedicated the award to the founders of the school, the Mercedarian sisters, and Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho who he said, “served as my counselor and someone who has given me advice for many of the things I have done.”
“Many of us started life here [at MCS] and our education and the building of our character,” he said. “Thank you for this recognition. I know there are many others that deserve this as much as I do, but I will accept it.”
Sablan is the school’s first non-graduate to be recognized with this prestigious award. According to school president Galvin Deleon Guerrero, the school decided to revise the award this year to include AlumKnights who spent at least four consecutive years at the school.
Sablan went to MCS from 1st grade to 5th grade before moving to Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia to attend Xavier High School. He then returned to Saipan to graduate from Marianas High School and later proceeded to study at the University of Guam and eventually Berkeley.
According to Guerrero, this year’s recipient served in the administration of the Marianas’ first governor, Carlos S. Camacho, and soon after was elected to the 3rd Commonwealth Legislature. During his legislative term, he was appointed as a special representative to 702 talks for the CNMI, in which he and his colleagues successfully negotiated millions of dollars in federal assistance for the Commonwealth.
After two legislative terms, this year’s awardee moved to Washington, D.C. as an appointed special assistant to U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. He would later return to Saipan and serve two subsequent gubernatorial administrations, those of Froilan C. Tenorio and Pedro P. Tenorio, before being appointed executive director of the Commonwealth Election Commission, a position he held until resigning to run for the first ever CNMI delegate to the US. Congress.
He was then successfully re-elected for two more terms, the most recent of which saw him win the largest electoral victory in CNMI history.
“But rather than let this power get to his head, he has used his political capital to bring in millions of dollars in federal funding, prioritizing education like no other, and serving as the moral compass of the community,” Guerrero said.
“One of the most respected leaders in our community, this year’s awardee is a man of character, integrity, and, above all, love for the people of the Northern Mariana,” Guerrero said. “I have personally followed this year’s awardee on a number of occasions and am overwhelmed and humbled by how much he cares for everyone in our community. He is someone I deeply admire and I can only hope, one day, to be as good as man as he is.”