A big surprise was waiting for Saipan International School teacher Mili Saiki when she left the Horiguchi building last Friday after being naturalized with her husband, Jaime Saiki, last Friday.
Over half of the school’s student body came out to the U.S District Court to congratulate the Saikis after their naturalization ceremony. The outside of the building overflowed with SIS students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12, some of them holding up congratulatory banners.
According to one of the teachers present, Saiki has been an educator with SIS since it was established back in 1994—24 years ago.
An overwhelmed Saiki said that she has lived and worked on Saipan for almost 25 years and she has been waiting for her naturalization. “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, so this is a dream come true,” she said.
When asked how she felt about the amount of support she has from the institution she works for, she said she was speechless. “I am totally speechless. I am so touched, this was just so wonderful,” she said.
The U.S. District Court’s main courtroom was packed with SIS students and SIS instructors. Due to the overflow of students, some were placed in another room within the court where they were able to watch the naturalization ceremony live but many students and instructors were left outside because there was still not enough space to accommodate the group.
According to Jaime Saiki, the journey to naturalization was a lengthy one. “It’s been a long journey to finally become Americans but it was worth it,” he said.
The SIS students and teachers brought handwritten posters, some brought flowers, and many brought warm embraces.
Mili Saiki was moved to tears after seeing almost the entire school present in support and said that she was beyond joyous to have her SIS family there during such a monumental moment.
Mili Saiki and her husband were two out of 17 individuals who were naturalized last Friday. The 15 other naturalized citizens were Maria Ruby Cruz Acosta, Alfredo Andrada Acosta Jr., Agnes Endaya Camacho, Srinapa Chueasakul Eitz, Rosana Celeste Encio, Ana Lisa Umbao Gallego, Arlyne Galang Guanco, Xiaodan Jiang, Jocelyn Ong Mallari, Yolanda Hernandez Postrado, Ioulia Kim Safer, Christine Anneliese Schroeder, Richard Gorospe Soriano, Ferdinand Reforma Travilla, and Tanapon Unsa.