TASI To Table has grown since it was established in 2019 and it continues to teach the youth how to organize fishing tournaments while they also learn about ocean wildlife conservation and boating safety.
For the 2020-2021 season, 30 students from four different high schools are participating in the program.
On March 6, 2021, they successfully hosted the 2nd Wahoo in the Marianas fishing tournament.
Blake Mister of Marianas High School served as vice chair of the event. He has been with the TTT program since it first started and is grateful for what he has learned and experienced.
“I've learned about boating safety and awareness, tying knots, and more,” he said. “It's more fun now because I can set my own rig and stuff like that.”
As for events like the Wahoo in the Marianas, they teach TTT participants leadership and organizational skills, said TTT vice president Wayne Pangelinan.
“The Wahoo in the Marianas was also a fundraiser for next year’s TTT program so more students can join it,” he added.
He said TTT will host more fishing competitions such as the Shoreline Casting Tournament, which will be held this month, and the first Tuna Mix Classic which is planned for August.
In addition, TTT plans to create clubs on Tinian and Rota in June.
“When we conclude this year’s program in June, we hope to open up the program anew with a goal to reach 80 students total: 50 students on Saipan, 15 on Tinian and 15 on Rota,” Pangelinan said.
He noted that TTT is the only non-government and non-profit organization that offers elective credits to high school students.
TTT is the only one of its kind in the Western Pacific, he said, adding that their supporters now include IT&E, Mobil Oil Marianas, the Bank of Saipan, the Robert T. Torres Law Firm, Pacific Trading Co., Roil Soil Clothing, 4EVER CNMI, Pacific Engineering Group & Services, GR Construction, Mercury Marine, Coral Reef Marine Center, Advance Marine Saipan, Marpac Distributors, Chong’s Corporation, McDonald’s Saipan , Fishing Tackle and Sporting Goods and JC Development.
“We truly appreciate and we are very grateful to our sponsors’ commitment to the youth,” Pangelinan said.
IT&E's Paul Guerrero said they support TTT because it benefits the youth.
“I did not grow up around fishermen — it just wasn't me. But after listening to what was presented by TTT, and what the program aimed to accomplish, I pushed IT&E's support. Longevity is another factor — once the students learn what TTT has to teach, they will never forget it.”
Guerrero added, “We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the program.”
For her part, Mobil Oil Marianas Inc.’s Malaina Kileleman said, “We are always looking for organizations to sponsor. We always support the youth and their education and that is TTT’s main focus. The youth today don't really get the chance to experience things like fishing so it's a great opportunity for students to learn about conservation, boating safety and other aspects of fishing that will benefit them in the long run.”
Pangelinan said TTT also wants to tap federal grants to fund a two-year program that will include qualitative research on Ciguatera fish poisoning.
He said this project is also supported by the Public School System.
"We are doing all this for the youth. We also want to show them a possible career path. It's their choice and we are just giving them platforms to look at,” Pangelinan said.