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Last updateTue, 22 Oct 2019 12am







    Sunday, October 20, 2019-9:42:51A.M.






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SSHS’ top graduates: Natalie Montano and Ruth Park

SAIPAN Southern High School’s Class of 2019 is the “super typhoon batch,” Education Commissioner Glenn Muna said.

“You started your high school with Typhoon Soudelor and you are ending your high school year with Super Typhoon Yutu. You are SSHS’ super typhoon. Show the world what you can do,” Muna said during the SSHS commencement exercises on campus, Thursday.

The top 10 graduates of Saipan Southern High SchoolThe top 10 graduates of Saipan Southern High School

Natalie Montano is the valedictorian while Ruth Park is the salutatorian.

In his remarks, Muna said Typhoon Yutu affected the lives of everyone.

He told the graduates to thank the people who helped and supported them, especially during those difficult times. “Throughout your educational years, it would not have been possible to go this far without the support of parents, guardians, families, teachers and staff,” he said.

“We have schools that have [been destroyed] but we are still grateful. We are still hopeful despite the challenges. We rely on each other to support each other,” he added.

He urged the 120 members of the Class of 2019 to go out, do great things and make the CNMI known. “Then come back home and take over for us. We need you to lead us.”

Ruth Park, the class salutatorian, said the Class of 2019 is resilient. “I believe that each and every one of us will be able to overcome the hardships we face in life and prosper.”

She added, “High school has only been the preview of our lives. It is now the time for us to move on and begin our real story. Let’s not be fearful but rather excited for what we have ahead of us. Let’s be persistent. Let’s be resilient.”

Park will be attending San Diego Mesa College in San Diego, California. She plans to major in biology. “I have always been interested in science because my anatomy and physiology teacher, Ms. Ferleen Esmundo, influenced me.” She wants to be a doctor and then to practice in the CNMI.

Natalie Montano, the class valedictorian, said most of them will now set out and enter college, which she referred to as an “unknown territory.”

“We may be afraid of new beginnings at first, but our adventures can only strengthen our skills and affirm our passions. And when you are in a situation where you know your own passions, but lack the confidence to continue, don’t be afraid to step back and try something new. It may help you get a fresher perspective and recharge your spirit,” she told her fellow graduates, adding she drew that lesson from the anime movie “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”

“As we go out into the world as young adults, I hope you remember this message. Find your own inspiration. Though your path in life may twist and turn, the magic inside will always be constant,” she added.

Montano plans to study environmental science. “I really think that focusing on environmental conservation is important and I want to contribute to that in the CNMI.”

Her school principal, Vince Dela Cruz, said Montano received acceptance letters from several universities and colleges, including Notre Dame University in Indiana.


Natalie Montano – Board of Education Award, Governor’s Leadership Award

Ruth Park – Commissioner of Education Award

Patricia Atalig – Principal Award

Click to enlarge
Class valedictorian Natalie Montano
Class salutatorian Ruth Park

Top 10

1) Natalie Montano

2) Ruth Park

3) Mark Reginald Villanueva

4) Ayessa Joy Navarro

5) Jobelle Tabuena

6) Marchie Lynn Sayas

7) Andre Taitingfong

8) Kathleen Loise Lacanilao

9) Alexander Donovan Tudela

10) George Michael Santos