ASBA awards annual law scholarship

President of the American Samoa Bar Association Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei presenting the scholarship check to recipient Su’e Tervola, a law student at Provo, Utah. l-r ASBA Vice President Vincent Kruse with daughter Tauava’e Kruse, ASBA Secretary Karen Shelley, Uiaglelei and Tervola, who was accompanied by her Uncle Galumalemana Popo Avegalio and Aunty Ipu Lefiti Avegalio. [Photo: JL]

The American Samoa Bar Association’s 2012-2013 Legal Education Scholarship was awarded to law student Su’e Tervola in a presentation ceremony held yesterday at the DDW Restaurant, with several members of the local bar association looking on.

President of the ASBA, Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei said during the presentation that this award has been given for many years to help support some of the students who have been chosen to pursue a career in law.

The American Samoa Bar Association was established by statute to help improve the administration of justice in the territory and this is one way the Bar feels they are meeting that mandate, he noted.  

He said many recipients of this scholarship have successfully completed law school and have become noted attorneys in their field of practice and in the communities where they now serve.

 Uiagalelei said that Tervola will be entering her second year of law school this year at J. Reuben Clark School of Law at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

“While she was born and raised in the state of Hawai’i she has strong ties to American Samoa and she’s a member of the Avegalio family in Leone,” he said.

The check of $1,000 was presented to Tervola, who was accompanied by her Uncle Galumalemana Popo Avegalio and her Aunty Ipu Avegalio Lefiti.

Upon receiving the check, Tervola thanked the ASBA for their support, and for believing in her. 

In an interview with Samoa News, Tervola said she has had strong family support from her Avegalio family in Leone.

She is the daughter of Fiapito and Patricia Avegalio, of Leone. She also acknowledged her late Uncle, Iupati “Pat” Tervola, former Chief Procurement Officer, for his strong support of her while she was in law school.

She said one of her strongest motivations to attend law school was her passion to help Samoans in the United States and the territory.

“I find that our people are often on the wrong side of the law and I wanted to attend law school to attempt to reverse the stereotype and to be able to use my legal education to relate to our people and inspire them to want to learn about the law and their rights” she said.

Tervola, who travels to American Samoa every summer, said she plans to return here to work upon completing her law degree.

 “I have strong desires to help our people and teach them about their rights and how the law can empower them,” she said.

According to the ASBA, Tervola is a candidate for the Juris Doctor degree in 2014. She holds a bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Pacific Island and Indigenous Studies from the University of Hawai’i Manoa. She’s a mentor at the Juvenile Detention Center in Provo, Utah and the current president of the Pacific Islander Law Student Association (PILSA) .

Tervola said her goal as the President of the PILSA is to reach out to all Samoans and Polynesians off island who need assistance in preparing to enter law school. “If anyone is interested in attending law school and needs assistance, feel free to contact me via email atstervola@gmail.com”, she said.


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