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A Look Back Into Saipan Southern High School

In June 2022, it will officially be 10 years since I graduated from high school. That’s pretty insane to believe. I can still easily remember the first day I stepped into the high school of my freshmen year and nowadays, I’m hearing stories of my friends’ younger siblings being in college.


As a kid, 10 years may not be as memorable. But looking back at the last decade? It’s a huge milestone in and of itself, and I’m beyond grateful that I have come a long way since then.

As of right now, my class is preparing for a 10 Year Reunion Ball that’s set for the summer. Will I be attending my reunion? I’m not sure. I change my mind often, and this is something that I’m not trying to set in stone as of yet.

So, as an homage to my high school reunion, I’m going to be writing about special topics during my high school days and posting one per month leading up to June. This first one is a sort of throwback guide to my high school, Saipan Southern High School (SSHS), focused on the years 2009-2012. This is a way to kind of take a look at what a public school is like in the CNMI.

-Sidenote- For the sake of this not turning into a full-blown handbook, I will be leaving out most school policies and general school guidelines.

-Another Sidenote- I really don’t know how much of these guidelines and policies have changed over the 10-year period that my class had graduated. To not get confused, I will be referring to them in the past tense as another reminder that these guides were in place between my years at the school.

Let’s take a look at SSHS 10 years ago!

Saipan Southern High School (SSHS) in 2009-2012


Saipan Southern High School, home of the Manta Rays, is a 9-12th grade U.S. Public Secondary School themed in Green Energy, Allied Health, Education, Technology and Fine Arts. The school, opened in 2002 (Happy 20th Anniversary, SSHS!), is located in Koblerville, Saipan, CNMI, and is the youngest of the three public high schools established on the island.


Literally translates to “One School One Heart.”

With this motto, we are demonstrating that “although we come from many different cultures and races, our unity as one school, will help us move toward excellence. For all of us, that is excellence in life. For some it may also be excellent in academics, in the arts, in business, in craftsmanship, or in the community or public service but together, united, we will achieve as one. In our hearts, we hold our beliefs as one of our two main strengths. By sharing our knowledge and skills with each other, we can strengthen each other’s hearts and hold close to the beliefs that we can succeed together.

The MANTA RAY is our school mascot and like the Manta Ray on the school logo, who leaps from the waters boundary, we strive together to raise ourselves towards high ideals, such as independence, freedom and challenge.”


SSHS’ daily schedule was divided into four 75-minute periods, with a 15-minute morning break, and 50-minute lunch break. Extra periods were offered as additional classes to accommodate overcrowding and extra elective classes/programs.


SY 2011-2012

First Bell: 8:20 AM

1st Period: 8:30 AM – 9:45 AM

2nd Period: 9:55 AM – 11:10 AM

Break: 11:10 AM – 11:25 AM

3rd Period: 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM

Lunch: 12:45 PM – 1:40 PM

4th Period: 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

5th Period: 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM

SY 2010-2011

0 Period: 6:30 AM – 7:45 AM

First Bell: 7:50 AM

1st Period: 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM

2nd Period: 9:25 AM – 10:40 AM

Break: 10:40 AM – 10:55 AM

3rd Period: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Lunch: 12:15 PM – 1:05 PM

4th Period: 1:15 PM – 3:05 PM

5th Period: 3:15 PM – 4:30 PM


*JROTC = Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

*Students were placed into one of the English classes in their grade each year. We weren’t required to take all three English classes.

Algebra I

Advanced Algebra II

AP Language & Composition

AP Literature

**Art I, II, III

**Band Beginning

**Band Intermediate

**Band Advanced I & II


Calculus Honors


Chemistry Honors

**Ceramics I & II

**Computer Applications I & II

English 9 (Introduction to English 9)

English 9 (Intermediate English 9)

English 9 (Pre-AP Honors English 9)

English 10 (Introduction to English 10)

English 10 (Intermediate English 10)

English 10 (Pre-AP Honors English 10)

English 11 (Introduction to English 11)

English 11 (Intermediate English 11)

English 11 (AP Literature Honors 11)

English 12 (Introduction to English 12)

English 12 (Intermediate English 12)

English 12 (AP Language Honors 12)

Environmental Science

Foreign Language Japanese I & **II

Financial Literacy

**Green Energy


Health Occupations I & II

**Information Technology I & II

**JROTC 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5

Library Studies

Northern Marianas History

**Nursing Assistantship I & II



**Physics Honors

**Pre-Calculus Honors


**U.S. Government Honors

**U.S. Civics (We the People)

**U.S. History Honors

World Geography

World History


Percent Letter Grade

A 93-100

B 83-92

C 73-82

D 63-72

F 0-62

Mid-Term Progress Reports were given out in the middle of each quarter and were required to be picked up by parents at the school, known as Open House, from each instructor. It was during these meetings that instructors and parents would talk one-on-one about the students’ progress and advise them of any additional guide that the students may need to do to improve their overall performance in the class. These grades were not included in the final grade book.

Report Cards were given out quarterly and were given to students to bring home. These grades were recorded in the final system and were factors in our overall GPA.

Groups, Clubs, Student Organizations


STUCO consisted of a class President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Parliamentarian, and at least two Class Representatives that were elected by their class on popular student vote. Their purpose was to “represent the student body, help improve educational standards promote good relations and communication throughout the entire school and in the community, improve morale, develop attitudes of and beliefs in good leadership and citizenship, give students the opportunity to gain experience in leadership, promote the orderly direction of student activities, inform students of their rights, and work for the common good of the students and the school.”


NHS was a prestigious organization that selected a certain number of students by application each year based on their high academic average, good moral character, notable leadership, and dedicated service within the school and community. The student must maintain these standards to remain in the organization.


Book Club was an organization open to all book lovers on campus. Members were assigned to read at least one main book per semester, and if there’s a movie coming out for that book, a field trip to watch the movie was allowed. The club also contributed to community and in-school volunteer work.

Special SSHS Student Activities

Career Day

Quarterly Pep Rallies

Education Day

JROTC Change of Command Ceremony

JROTC Family Picnic

JROTC Military Ball

Spirit Weeks

Cultural Day

Holiday School Dances

Sports Competitions

Battle of the Bands

Movie Nights

Senior Trip

Junior-Senior Prom


Attorney General’s Cup Speech Competition

Close-Up Foundation Program

Interscholastic Math Court Competition

Academic Challenge Bowl

Mock Trial Championship

National Honor Society Induction

Youth Congress

Youth in Tourism Week Activities

Youth Takeover Day

Junior Statesmen of America (JSA)

National Forensic League

Youth Explorers

International Thespian Society

Upward Bound

Pacific Winds Band

Taking Action Youth Advocacy (TAYA)

DEQ Beach Clean-Up & Environmental Expo

Marianas March Against Cancer (MMAC)

Junior Achievement

Other SSHS Services



At-risk students are defined as those “whose behavior and/or attendance are placing them at risk for failing grades or dropping out of school.”



The school was equipped with Wi-Fi access all around campus.


Students were to apply for permission to park their cars on the school campus. Licensed Juniors and Seniors were allowed to bring their cars on campus, but only Seniors were given the green light to go off campus during lunchtime.


Dress Code

Information was gathered directly from the SSHS 2011-2012 Student Handbook.

“Clothing worn by students that, in the opinion of the school administration, causes a significant distraction or inhibits learning is forbidden. Such clothing includes:

(1) clothing that promotes gang affiliations; SSHS does not allow bandanas worn around the head, arms, or hands unless it is a Manta Ray-approved garment.

(2) clothing that promotes the use of drugs, alcohol, or weapons; SSHS does not allow chains that could be considered a weapon. Generally, any chain should not be thicker than a pencil.

(3) clothing that presents a hazard to the student’s safety or that of other students or staff. Teachers may have certain requirements based on their class requirements.

(4) clothing which advocates prejudice;

(5) clothing that causes a material and substantial disruption of the learning process.

SSHS asks students not to wear see-through clothing. Shoulder straps should be at least ¾ inch wide. Shorts or skirts should be at least down to the fingertips folded when the student is standing with hands to their sides. Please just be considerate of others and don’t wear something that will make others say rude things to you or harass you unnecessarily. Use good judgment and respect your parents or guardians.

The definition of clothing should be construed liberally and shall include items such as book bags, book covers, sports-related articles, hats, lunch boxes, and other similar items that the student may bring to school.

Most teachers ask that students remove their hats and sunglasses in the classroom, and this should be respected.”

Student Academic Achievements

Awards were given to Seniors at the end of the year in recognition of their hard work. These students maintained the highest grade point averages (GPA) in all courses throughout the years and have not taken any remedial courses or repeated a course.



Top 10 – Included the Valedictorian, Salutatorian, and eight other students with the overall highest GPA in the class.

There were also awards given at the end of our Senior Year from all of the instructors at the school. These awards acknowledge the Top 2 students per subject, with the highest overall grades in their class during our duration.

Graduation Requirements

SSHS had four (4) additional requirements for Seniors prior to graduation:

  1. Service-Learning Requirement: 80hrs minimum, 120hrs Certificated
  2. SSHS High School Exit Examination (Star Reading & Math)
  3. E-Portfolio requirement or Senior Capstone Project (4 years’ worth of best works in electronic format)
  4. Senior Exit Survey

A minimum of 28 credits were required for graduating. These subjects included:

  • English (8)
  • Social Studies (3 including NMI, US History or World History, US Government or Economics)
  • Mathematics (6 including Algebra I, II, Geometry)
  • Science (3 including Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry)
  • Foreign Language (1)
  • Physical Education (2)
  • Electives (5)

*1 credit of JROTC may be substituted for 1 credit of Physical Education

The class of 2012 officially graduated and completed our secondary education program on June 05, 2012. Our final class attendance was on June 08, 2012.

This post has brought back so much nostalgia, and I’m just thinking ‘wow, I experienced many of these as a teenager.’ I will be showcasing more of my personal high school experiences with the other posts, especially in the final one of this 10-Year Reunion Series.

I hope this was an interesting inside look into SSHS 10-14 years ago, and if you would like to visit the school or enroll your child here and become a part of the Manta Ray family, you can find their contact information at their official website.

Keep being inspired and take care always,


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