Ben Babauta is 2020 AlumKnight of the Year

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T GALLERIA by DFS senior general manager for operations Ben Babauta is the 2020 AlumKnight of the Year.

He received the award during the annual “Night with the Knights” fundraiser held at the Pacific Islands Club on Saturday evening.

Since 1998, MCS president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero said they have been recognizing outstanding individuals as AlumKnight of the Year.

“Past awardees are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of the Marianas,” he added.

The recipients have distinguished themselves as leaders in the government, the private sector or the community, and they “represent the school’s trademark values — faith, excellence, and success,” Deleon Guerrero said. “This year’s awardee is no different.”

The chairman of the MCS board, Babauta is a member of the Class of 1985 and a graduate of the Northern Marianas College.

“He has contributed tremendously to our community in many ways,” Deleon Guerrero said. “It is no wonder that he quickly rose through the ranks of DFS from sales to assistant general manager for sales and now assistant general manager for all store operations.”

In addition, Babauta has provided invaluable leadership to countless nonprofits, including the NMC Foundation, the Saipan Rotary Club, and the Saipan Chamber of Commerce, Deleon Guerrero said.

“He was also one of the chief architects of the golf tournament, which is raising millions of dollars to support our community,” he added.

As MCS board chairman, Babauta provides critical leadership including overseeing the school’s merger with the Sister Remedios Early Childhood Development Center and ensuring competitive salaries for teachers, Deleon Guerrero said.

“He values family above all else and is always there as a husband, a father, and a grandfather. On a personal level, I have had the privilege of getting to know him as a mentor, a colleague, and a friend,” Deleon Guerrero added.

Mount Carmel School board chairman Ben Babauta, fourth  left, is the 2020 AlumKnight of the Year. Also in photo are the other MCS board members, MCS president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero, MCS AlumKnight Association officers and Babauta’s family.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Babauta said he was humbled by the award.

Also on Saturday evening, Zita Sablan was recognized as MCS Legacy Teacher of the Year.

The award is given to an MCS teacher who has had a positive impact on students.

Sablan was hired by MCS in 1993 as a nurse and elementary school teacher.

Sablan, who teaches second grade, is one of the longest-serving employees in MCS’ over 60 years of existence.

“This year’s awardee goes to a teacher that has taught and mentored hundreds of AlumKnights and kids of AlumKnights,” MCS 2020 Teacher of the Year Evangeline Villar said of Sablan.

This year’s Millennium Falcon Award went to Jacqueline Che.

The award recognizes MCS alumni who continuously contribute and inspire success in the community.

As for the MCS Class of the Year Award, the recipient is the Class of 2005.

“A Night with the Knights” event is organized by the AlumKnight Association.

In an interview, MCS Institutional development director Victoria Deleon Guerrero said the annual event was created in 2016 to serve as a “bridge” between MCS, its alumni, and current students.

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