Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 12am







    Wednesday, September 18, 2019-5:18:14A.M.






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SIS top graduates: Nathania Tan and Michael Lee

SAIPAN International School’s Class of 2019 has two valedictorians — Nathania Tan and Michael Lee.

Prunella Pellegrino, who plans to pursue a degree in business in Emory University in Georgia, is the class salutatorian.

Click to enlarge
SIS co-valedictorian Michael Lee.
SIS co-valedictorian Nathania Tan with her father, Tan Holdings CEO Jerry Tan.  Photos by Lori Lyn C. Lirio ;

In her remarks during the graduation ceremony in the Hibiscus Hall of Fiesta Resort & Spa on Saturday, Nathania Tan said hard work and time management were her secrets to success in sports and academics.

“Some of you may wonder how I was able to accomplish these athletic activities while still having time to do my schoolwork after. It is not magic. It is just hard work. It is pushing through early morning training before school and hours of training after school. Even when I felt exhausted from classes…I had to make sure I set some time aside at the end of the day to work on my academics,” she said.

Her co-valedictorian, Michael Lee, is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, an AP scholar with distinctions, and has also participated in many competitive athletics and activities. For the past three years, he represented SIS and the CNMI in national math competitions.

Lee, who wants to be a pilot, will attend the Air Force Academy.

He said when he started attending SIS as a sixth grader, he saw his classmates as “strangers.” But now he considers them more than just classmates or friends.

“Thank you, guys for being who you are. I wish you luck in all our aspirations in life. Always remember that I’ll be there for you when you guys need help. And I hope to see you very soon,” Lee told his fellow graduates.

Quoting a famous line from the movie “Avengers: Endgame,” Lee said, “Class of 2019, I love you 3000.’

The Northern Marianas Sports Association’s 2018 Athlete of the Year, Tan said she plans to attend the Fordham University in New York City. But she will represent the CNMI in tennis and track & field in the Pacific Games in July in Apia, Samoa.

SIS headmaster Dr. Ron Snyder said Tan has demonstrated high academic talent throughout her time at SIS.

“She has taken every single Advanced Placement class that has been offered her at SIS. She does not only exceed in academics, she is also a familiar face in many island events and represent the SIS and the CNMI in multiple international mid-distance running competitions,” Snyder said.

He added Tan and Lee obtained the highest GPA of 4.3. “It is a virtual tie.”

Two years ago, he said, SIS had two salutatorians because their GPAs were also close.

Snyder said the Class of 2019 is a “cut above the rest.”

He said half of their graduates are AP scholars. “Compare this to the 18 percent of AP students globally that earn this award.”

He added that the SIS graduates finished their senior year with a grade point average or GPA above 4.0.

In addition, SIS students excel in athletics, Snyder said. “We have some of the top volleyball players, runners, basketball players and tennis stars on island.”

Some of the graduates have also made it to the national team for Math Court. They join music bands, ballet dancing, mock trial, Hawaiian dancing, speech and debate, art and writing competitions, he added.

“They have given freely of their time in the service of others in the CNMI and to help those who suffered during Soudelor and Yutu and they event went off-island in places like Bali and Peru to help those less fortunate,” Synder said.


Anna Calvert, Andrew Hudkins, Ami Tsukagoshi — Pure Geckos. They are students who started in SIS in kindergarten and graduated from high school.

Prunella Pellegrino — Science Award, Outstanding Service Award

Nathania Tan — Outstanding achievements in the English language, composition and literary criticism and interpretation.

Anna Calvert — World Language Award

Annabelle Sablan — Social Studies Award

Hyeon Jun park — Mathematics Award

Christine Ngo — Arts Award

Andrew Hudkins and Nathania Tan — Athletics Award

Michael Lee — Activities Award

SIS Class of 2019 members

1) Panisa Benchakarn

2) Anna K. Calvert — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar

3) Hyungyu Cho — National Honor Society member

4) Yuan Cui

5) Andrew J. Hudkins — National Honor Society member, Advance Placement scholar with honors

6) Jun Bum Huh — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar with honors

7) Gun Lee

8) Jun Hee Lee — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar

9) Michael Lee — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar with distinction

10) Christine Ngo — National Honor Society member

11) Alex Park — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar with distinction

12) Dong Jun Park

13) Hyeon Joon Park — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar with distinction

14) Jayson Pascual

15) Prunella Pellegrino — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement with distinction

16) Nathaniel Racoma

17) Annabelle Sablan — National Honor Society member

18) Nathania Tan — National Honor Society member, Advanced Placement scholar

19) Ami Tsukagoshi — National Honor Society member