Since the inception of the Tasi to Table program, it has now grown beyond Gene Weaver’s expectations. Schoolwide participation numbers have grown tremendously, said Weaver, who has been president of the organization for three years now.
These, among other accomplishments, were highlighted during a dinner event called “An Evening with TTT” last Tuesday at Lau Lau Bay Golf & Resort’s The Grill restaurant that was attended by TTT’s leadership team, board members, and some of its stakeholders.
Weaver said that schoolwide participation numbers doubled compared to last year, with around 30 students on a waitlist to join TTT’s next program cycle. He credited TTT’s success and growth to students being at home and doing virtual classes and the CNMI community and people learning of TTT through word-of-mouth, and “it escalated from there.”
When asked about TTT’s upcoming plans to close the year and going into 2022, Weaver said the recent increase in positive cases of COVID-19, plus Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ Dec. 5 directive closing all non-essential government offices for two weeks, the Public School system transitioning to online classes from Dec. 6 to Dec. 23, and the COVID-19 pandemic in general are challenges for the organization’s future events and activities.
In the meantime, Weaver said that TTT has “reshuffled” its eight-month program to accommodate Torres’ and PSS’ recent directives. “Everything is dependent on our situation; it regulates what we can do with the students. …We have to follow what PSS is implementing and their policies regarding [COVID-19],” he said.
Weaver added that he and TTT would love to say that they will go through with events and activities it had planned for TTT’s student members and the community, but said the recent rise in cases and temporary restrictions will be a challenge.
Also present at the dinner on Tuesday was TTT’s recently-elected vice president Dan Wollak, who has been a TTT adviser at Marianas High School since TTT’s first year.
Wollak, who was elected to the vice president role around two weeks ago, said he looks forward to tapping his experience as a TTT adviser to give his perspective and bridge the gap between TTT’s school and community efforts. Wollak is a physical education teacher at MHS, is involved with the “Swim For Life CNMI” program, and coaches boys’ and girls’ basketball and golf.
“I was talking with my wife and she knows how much I love this program, and she said, ‘You know what? I support you if this is something you want to do, go for it.’ …I love what I’ve seen in the program. I love what it’s done for students and just for the community, so I decided that I wanted to not just be an adviser, but also see where I could help on the other end as an officer,” said Wollak.
Tasi to Table seeks to share with the youth the joys of fishing. TTT first began with a six-month program for the Da’Ok Academy in summer 2019, and started an eight-month program for Saipan’s high school students in 2020. TTT launched Tinian and Rota branches this summer, first testing out a four-month pilot program with hopes to begin an eight-month program on both islands next school year. Students who participate and complete TTT’s programs earn elective credit hours that go toward high school graduation.