Two locals —Tala Ropeti (right) and Tonya Tuigamala (left) — were among this year's recipients of the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) Pacific Teacher Scholarships. PREL was established more than 20 years ago, and has worked across a substantial part of the education spectrum. [courtesy photos]

Two Samoan women have been chosen to receive the Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL)  Pacific Teacher Scholarship award. Tala Ropeti and Tonya Tuigamala were among seven finalists chosen, and there are also recipients from Phonpei, Palau and CNMI. PREL was established more than 20 years ago,  and has worked across a substantial part of the education spectrum.
Tala told Samoa News she’s extremely grateful for the scholarship given to her by the PREL organization. “It is an honor to represent our island of American Samoa and receive such a prestigious award. There are not many organizations that offer such prestigious and substantial scholarships, and the fact that I have been selected out of so many applicants makes me proud beyond imagination.”
Tala, a former Samoa News Intern said with this scholarship, she’ll be able to further pursue her dreams in the field of Education. ”I am already enrolled in the Bachelors Program at Argosy University of Hawai'i and this scholarship will definitely help me pay for education.”
Tala further stated she plans to become a Social Science Teacher with an emphasis in Psychology and to complete her Bachelors degree in a couple years or less. She aims to also work toward a Masters Degree. “I'd like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the PREL organization for this award and I encourage our future teachers out there to apply for the PREL scholarship in the coming semesters."
Tala is a Fagaitua High School graduate and she currently works at ASCC Student Services tutoring developmental and college level English courses.
 Tonya in an interview with Samoa News said she’s humbled and honored to have been selected as a recipient of this award. Being this is her graduating semester, she "could have never asked for a much better time to have received financial assistance."
“I am very grateful for such opportunities that help us as we go about our educational journeys," she told Samoa News.
Tonya is currently majoring in Elementary Education, and said she feels "blessed to have this scholarship assist me through the Bachelors Program."
“My sincere gratitude be to Heavenly Father for the doors He’s opened to me, to the PREL organization for this golden opportunity, to the ASCC Bachelors Education program and its wonderful staff, and to my family and friends for their support as I strive to succeed.” 
Aside from this PREL scholarship Tonya is also a recipient of a DOE Department Scholarship and received a local teacher scholarship as well.
According to the statement issued by PREL announcing the recipients, PREL serves the educational community with quality programs, services, and products developed to promote educational excellence.
“We work throughout school systems, from classroom to administration, and collaborate routinely with governments, communities, and businesses. Above all, we specialize in multicultural and multilingual environments.”


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