Saipan International School was determined to give its graduating seniors a more traditional graduation ceremony despite current COVID-19 directives in place so they opted to split the ceremony into two parts.
With social distancing as the “new normal,” the SIS administration worked to host a traditional commemoration ceremony for its 19 graduating seniors while also remaining compliant with social distancing measure. That meant splitting the graduating class into two batches and hosting two separate ceremonies that concluded with a parade.
SIS had nine students in one group and 10 in the other, with each student seated 10 feet apart from other members of their group. Additionally, everyone who entered the campus had their temperature taken and filled out a health screening form.
To make this year’s graduation even more unique, SIS’ graduating class was led by two valedictorians and two salutatorians. This year’s valedictorians were Anika Snyder and Malika Miyawaki, who tied with a grade point average of 4.36. Salutatorians Eunseo No and Sangyoon Lee tied with a GPA of 4.29.
In her speech, Miyawaki encouraged her classmates to persevere despite the many challenges life has thrown and will throw at them. “There will be many more challenges and, of course, mistakes, to come but we are sure it will be all worth it in the end. For everyone who has a goal, don’t give up. Personally, no matter what challenges I faced, I always tried my best to beat it. I struggled because I had so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to do well in school, play sports, participate in every fundraiser, spend time with friends, and earn money to support my family. My struggles, despite being demanding, forced me to precisely plan my days. Successfully doing all of this made me realize that if you just try, you can do it all!”
Snyder mirrored Miyawaki’s speech and said that it is the challenges in life that makes a person stronger. “Saipan endured Typhoon Soudelor, [Super] Typhoon Yutu, and now COVID-19. But we did not give up and we will never give up. These challenges, both in the past and in the present, have made us the strongest and most durable group we know. The challenges our futures hold for us is unknown, but we, and everyone here today, knows that the Class of 2020 will persevere through each and every one of them,” she said.
No ended her salutatorian speech with encouragement for her peers that there are better days and to treasure every moment. “I hope everyone treasures every moment and strives for a better tomorrow, for what everyone wants to become,” she said.
• Malika Miyawaki: Valedictorian, Athletics and Sportsmanship, English Language, composition, and literature award.
• Anika Snyder: Valedictorian, Science Award
• Eunseo No: Salutatorian, World Language Award
• Sangyoon Lee: Salutatorian, Mathematics award, team captain and most valuable player in non-sport competitions, including debate, math court, Mock Trial, and Model United Nations, Board of Directors award.
• Sally Lai: Social Studies award
• Anna Qian: exemplary in visual and or performing arts
• Jon Paul Sablan: Athletics Sportsmanship