Mount Carmel School bestowed its prestigious Distinguished Graduate of the Year award on former lawmaker and current KSPN 2 anchor/reporter Christina Marie “Tina” Sablan during the institution's Family Night celebration on Friday.
The occasion was part of the annual celebration of Catholic Schools Week.
Sablan said the recognition was unexpected. “I was very pleasantly surprised, as well as deeply honored when I was notified of the award. Mount Carmel School will always hold a special place in my heart. I owe a great debt to the school community that raised me and instilled in me many of the core values that I hold dear to this day,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Sablan graduated from the institution in 1999. Like past awardees, recipients of the award have distinguished themselves as noted leaders in business, government, and the community who represent the school's trademark values of faith, excellence, and success.
MCS president Galvin Deleon Guerrero, who announced the award, described Sablan as one of the most accomplished scholars of her generation.
Sablan graduated from MCS in 1999 as class valedictorian, earning both the CNMI's full honors scholarship and the competitive Robert Byrd Scholarship. She went on to attend DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, and the College of Santa Fe in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
While in college, Sablan made it onto the Dean's List virtually every semester and was recognized for numerous accomplishments, including the Presidential Academic Merit Award and inclusion in the 2003 edition of “Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges,” and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Conservation Science in the same year.
“As intellectually accomplished as she is, she did not confine herself to the walls of academia. Professionally, this 1999 AlumKnight has also distinguished herself as a versatile and dynamic jack of all trades,” said Deleon Guerrero.
Sablan worked as a tutor and then tutor coordinator for students with disabilities as well as low-income, minority, and first-generation college students while still in college. She also continued this teaching track in 2005 when she taught middle school science at Whispering Palms School.
After graduation, she worked for the Division of Environmental Quality as an environmental specialist and then as a water reduction and recycling coordinator.
From 2010 through 2012, Sablan worked as program manager for the Commonwealth Cancer Society until she moved on to become an anchor and reporter for KSPN2 News, where she has highlighted critical issues in the CNMI and broken some of the top news on island.
In 2007, Sablan ran a revolutionary grassroots campaign and was elected to the CNMI House of Representatives. In addition to running in that election, she has volunteered as an election observer in Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and here in the CNMI. She also spearheaded a popular initiative to reapply the Open Government Act to the CNMI and facilitated numerous public forums and community meetings to promote dialogue, awareness, and action on a wide range of CNMI issues.
In recognition of all of this civic involvement, she was featured in Pacific Magazine's “25 to Watch” and Guam Business Magazine's “35 under 35” in 2007. In 2008, Sablan was selected by the Saipan Tribune as its Person of the Year.
“It is clear that this year's awardee has distinguished herself in the civic arena. But, more important than distinguishing herself civically, professionally, and academically, this year's awardee has distinguished herself socially, ethically, and morally as the voice of reason and the conscience of our community,” said Deleon Guerrero.
Since 1998, Mount Carmel School has recognized one outstanding individual for its Distinguished Graduate Award every year.