139 graduate from Saipan Southern

COE: 73 pct of seniors accepted to college, universities

Saipan Southern High School valedictorian Jason Lee started spearfishing in his freshmen year.

He was initially apprehensive to venture out into the deep blue ocean but eventually mustered the courage to join his friends more often.

“I learned to enjoy the bounty of sea that surrounds us and the opportunity that my school provided,” he told his 138 classmates during yesterday’s commencement exercise on campus.

“What Saipan Southern High School and spearfishing have taught me is to preserve fresh eyes,” he added. “Some of us have lived here all of our lives…but as we ready ourselves to commence our new lives it is the attitude to be able to see with clear eyes all the opportunities that lay out there.”

In his address, Lee also urged his fellow graduates to dive into the “vast ocean” and realize that there is so much more to know that what is on the surface of life.

The valedictorian noted that although the school year began with the destruction of a typhoon, he and his peers came out stronger than Soudelor.

“We will face the challenges the future holds with our eyes wide open,” he said.

Joining in his call to action, salutatorian Kyle Catilo urged his fellow graduates to remain grateful throughout their lives.

“I can attribute my success in life, whether it be big or small, to my support system…I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by positive, influential, and supportive people who have inspired, motivated, and challenged me,” he said.

Catilo stressed the importance of building meaningful relationships and support systems. “Find people who not only will be there in your glory days, but people who will be there in your darkest hours,” he explained. “Being up here is not a result of my own efforts. Being up here is a result of having a strong support system.”

Joining in congratulating the graduates and their families were Board of Education chair Herman Guerrero, Education Commissioner Dr. Rita A. Sablan, Public School System key management, SSHS principal Martha Kintol, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, first lady Dianne Torres, Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP), and other dignitaries.

In her remarks, Dr. Sablan explained that investment in education can occur in many ways and can be difficult.

She said, “These students here really are the evidence of what investment in education is all about.”

Sablan noted that 73 percent of the graduates were accepted to college, 11 students are employed, 10 are enlisted in the armed forces, one will be joining the fire academy, and nine students received full-ride scholarships—among many other accomplishments. She also lauded several students who passed the Northern Marianas College placement exams in Math and English.

“The work the students have done is a testament to your support, love, nurturing, and sacrifice that you have done,” she added. “Please ask them to come back… We need them to be a part of the community so we can advance our lives here.”

In the presentation of awards, Jason Lee received the Board of Education Award and Kyle Catilo was awarded the Commissioner’s Award. Both students were recipients of the Lt. Governor’s Leadership award.

The Governor’s Leadership Award was presented to Annika Matias, for her outstanding involvement in school and community activities. Terrence Jade C. Blanca is the recipient of this year’s Principal’s Award.

The Top 10 students of the graduating class were also recognized: Fariha Omaris ranked 10th followed by, Annika Matias, Eden Deang, Mikhail Alcantara, Ji Sun Lee, Ji Hoon Lee, Rhea Ann Banados, Terrence Blanca, Kyle Catilo, and Jason Lee.

The students left one seat on stage with a photo of their late classmate, Timothy Lee Salas Wesley Jr., who would have graduated with his classmates yesterday.

In his keynote address, Rep. Edwin Propst (Ind-Saipan) offered words of wisdom to the graduates, which he learned from his mother and father.

“Expect setbacks, failure, and mistakes,” he said. “You’re prone to make mistakes. What sets us apart from others is how we will learn from mistakes and how we rebound and recover when we do not succeed.”

He urged the graduates to “embrace the present” and not forget to enjoy being in the moment with loved ones.

“Be humble and learn that saying ‘I am sorry’ is just as important as saying ‘I love you,’” he added. “No matter where your journeys take you in this life, never forget that how you make people feel is just as important, if not more important, as to what you say or do.”

The SSHS graduation was themed, “The potential within us is greater than the obstacles around us.”

Thomas Manglona II | Correspondent

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.