Finding the time to spend with your family was among the three life lessons that Manuel Blas DLG Sablan learned in his time as a Saipan Southern High School Manta Ray.
Sablan, who will be going to Boise State University in Idaho in the fall semester, said making time for your family is the most important thing to do. “It was difficult to share time with friends and family while [I was] attending high school.”
“Because we get caught up with our friends, our electronic devices, and other things, we often forget to appreciate our parents and overlook the many sacrifices they make for us.”
He reminded his classmates, especially those who will later pursue college in the U.S. mainland, to never forget their families on Saipan. “As we leave them [our families] to further our education, we will put a pause to the daily interaction that we once took for granted.”
“Therefore, even when we’re abroad, we should always make time for a phone call or a video chat to hear of how they’re doing.”
Sablan finished at the top of the 2018 SSHS graduating senior class, which held its commencement exercise last Friday afternoon at the school grounds. Jae Yeon Lee is the class salutatorian.
“Time will fly and despite your teenage ego hiding your affection, don’t forget to tell the[m] that you love them,” Sablan ended.
Lee said that learning has been a struggle for him since elementary, but he persevered and succeeded, with the help of his teachers. “You might think that since I am receiving this award that I must be a talented and smart student…Sadly, this is simply not true… I was exceptionally bad, I felt like giving up so many times.”
“When I started my education, my parents used to think that I was academically challenged. I had trouble writing my own name in Korean and English for one-fourth of my life. During my elementary and middle school years, I occasionally forgot how to spell the word ‘the.’ I was incapable of writing a proper essay until the end of eighth grade.”
Lee, who will further his education at the University of Washington in Seattle, said he had only two options, and one of that was to work to be the person he wants to be. “I chose the latter, so I lived life with the mindset of outdoing myself everyday. Eventually, with time, I started to become more of the person who I want to be.
“Through this, it taught me the beauty of hard work and the importance of people around me. Without my family, I would have given up and without my greatest mentors, my Mom and Dad, I would never realized my potential. I would not been standing here. It was not only my parents but also my mentors [SSHS teachers] who helped [me] greatly to become who I am today.”
Audrey Jan Afable, Timothy Rei Leomo Villanueva, Mei Lin, Hee Joo Lee, Katrina Joy Alegre Valencia, Kryzha Mendoza Parungao, Daniel Medrano Montano, Stephen Carino, and Sheena Sunio Aguon joined Sablan and Lee in the school’s Top 10 graduating class.