A son of the CNMI brings pride
Backed by an impressive list of accomplishments at just 17 years old, Saipan International School’s Jesus “Jesse” Sablan will be finishing up his senior year in high school this summer and will be turning to the next chapter of his life when he heads to New York City and Colombia University, where he intends to study biomedical engineering.
Although this is going to be a big step for a Saipan-born and bred lad, Sablan, who is a son of Jason and Shirley Sablan, is excited to see what’s ahead. “It’s going be a huge dynamic shift. …I’m just so ready to go out there and learn. I’m so ready to meet new people, and just to see what’s out there in the world. Obviously I’m a bit nervous and [also] sad that I’m leaving my family and friends here, but I know that they are rooting for me so it’s up to me to honor that.”
Sablan would be studying at the school of Applied Engineering and Science within Colombia University, and will be pursuing biomedical engineering. He applied at the school late last year and was understandably nervous but remained hopeful and was very pleased at the news of his acceptance, knowing how difficult it is to be part of the 2% to 1% of applicants that actually get accepted to this Ivy League school.
Sablan will be graduating from SIS this May, but will still be competing nationally for speech and debate with Team CNMI this May-June one last time, where he has been competing representing the CNMI for four years now. He was also recently recognized as an Honorary Delegate for the GEC Model United Nations, which recently took place in Jeju, South Korea, where he had already twice won Best Delegate for Model United Nations.
Sablan noted that he does plan on being a lawyer someday, and that law and justice are what he envisions as his future career path. “My goal is to become an attorney, and I 100% plan to come back and work on Saipan.”
When talking about people who have inspired him, Sablan said he is very grateful to his teachers and his family. “It’s really my older siblings setting the example for me. …My older siblings really paved the way as the examples for me and my younger siblings, and just like, the expectations that I needed to meet. Because being in a family with five siblings, we get competitive, I feel like, or at least I’m very competitive with them…”
Sablan’s siblings are Annabelle Sablan, who is a senior student at the School of Architecture of Syracuse University; Jon Paul Sablan, who is a senior student at the School of Biological Sciences in UC Irvine; Jason Sablan, a sophomore student at the School of Economics in UC Berkeley; Soledad Sablan, who also studies at SIS, and Jose Peter Sablan, who is at Saipan Community School.
Sablan said he feels it’s his duty to help out his younger siblings, whether its homework, projects etc. “A lot of my success is because of them.” He laughed “…because if they didn’t exist maybe I wouldn’t be as competitive as I am.”
Sablan shared that as a young person he’d constantly be looking through instructional videos on how to better do or succeed in areas of his life, and now, although he’s not one for publicity, he knows that his younger self would have appreciated and approved advice.
“Coming from an island that is very small and lacks certain resources, you know no one is going to do it for you, you ‘ve got to do it yourself. If you’re not going to aim high, then your goal won’t be high. I would say that when I plan my things, I try to plan and achieve to the highest extent…but what advice I’d give is to always know your limits, and to know how far you can stretch yourself because you know if you aim too high, then you’re not only dishonoring yourself, but you’re dishonoring everyone that you’re representing. So definitely aim high, but definitely,also check in with yourself when you are doing your things.”
As a student with so many achievements that have led him to represent the CNMI, Sablan says he feels privileged and honored. “When I go places, I’m very proud of where I come from. …It is a lot of pride when I represent Saipan, but it takes a lot of responsibility. …Whether its speech and debate or MUN, I plan accordingly and I represent Saipan to the best of my abilities.”
This future member of the SIS Class of 2023 happily shared that he won’t be the only student entering an Ivy League school this fall. He said one of his friends from Mount Carmel School has also been accepted and they will be in the same class. Some of the things Sablan is looking forward to is feeling the change of environment, and joining specific clubs. As he loves community services, he plans to join the university’s Rotary Club, and other clubs such as band, Modern United Nations, and the Asian and Pacific Islander law club. “Though I am very proud to meet other people, and [hear about] their cultures, I’m very proud to share mine as well.”
Sablan is a grandson of former lieutenant governor Jesus and Annie Sablan and Roman and Ana Tudela.