SSHS sees 160 graduates


Saipan Southern High School held a motorcade and a virtual graduation to commemorate the achievement of its 160 seniors, who have gone through many hurdles to get to this point.

According to Vince Dela Cruz, SSHS principal, he and his staff worked tirelessly to provide some form of ceremony for this year’s graduating class because they endured so many traumatic events in the last four years that they deserve to have their successes commemorated.

“These students endured Typhoon Soudelor, Super Typhoon Yutu, and now COVID-19. They went through so much and they’re here, they made it, happy, and parents are still very supportive. I want to give a huge shoutout to the parents because they endured a lot also,” he said.

Although he finds it sad that his class had to go out with just a virtual ceremony, SSHS salutatorian Glen John Matalog said it’s better than not having any graduation celebration at all. “It’s tragic that the Class of 2020 had to end this way but, at the end of the day, it is what it is and we have to make do with what we’ve got,” he said in his salutatory speech, adding that this only teaches that if at first you don’t get what you want out of life, you should continue to try, even if it means taking a different approach.

“Sometimes no matter how hard you work toward a goal, the cards just aren’t dealt in your favor. You quickly realize that you can’t always get what you want in life and you have to change your approach, but that is what’s supposed to keep you going, so keep pushing forward until you get what you want. Just like how the saying goes, if the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal,” he said.

SSHS valedictorian Iris Kim Lee, who was not present for her graduation, said in her virtual speech that, although its heartbreaking that their senior year ended unexpectedly, they still deserve to celebrate and take the next step.

“Although we may not be able to experience the usual graduation that we worked hard for, don’t be discouraged or feel sad about it. The world is facing something new and we’re all adapting to the new normal which is our next challenge. Life is about moving forward and learning from experience. Take the next challenge,” she said.


Top 10:
Iris Kim Lee,
Glen John Matalog
Bernadette Jacinto
Rio Shadow
Ye Lee Christina Cha
Earl Joseph Garcia
Roger Keith Valencia
Kyla Mei Tuazon
Lovely Mae Mariano
Joemari Pulido

• Iris Kim Lee: Valedictorian, Board of Education award, Governor’s Leadership Award, English Language Arts, Math, Japanese Language and Culture
• Glenn John Matalog: Commissioner of Education award, Japanese Language and Culture,
• Roger Keith Valencia: Principal’s List award, JROTC
• Aeyanna Maratita: English Language Arts
• Earl Garcia: Math, Science
• Kyla Tuazon: Science
• Rio Shadow: Social Studies
• Isabelle Evangelista: Social Studies
• Emelsha Cepeda: CCLHS
• Ye Lee Cha: Japanese Language and Culture, Band, Cooperative Education
• Richard Balearos: Physical Education
• Hanna Mae Quiambao: Choir
• Akari Saito: Art
• Natalie Bait: Cooperative Education
• Abigail Padilla: Cooperative Education
• Joemari Pulido: Cooperative Education
• Mark Sagun: Digital Media
• Joshua Waldo: Digital Media
• Derrick Atalig: Woodwork
• Dorcb Ayuyu: Woodwork
• Theresita Borja: Woodwork
• Trinny Igisair: Woodwork
• Jhon Raymart Reyes: Woodwork
• Sylvina Simran: Woodwork
• Ro’anna Tudela: Woodwork

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at

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