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Graduations back to norm for 2014 grad season

fili@samoanews.com

This year’s high school graduation for public high schools on Tutuila is back to the same practice as in the last 40 plus years with each one having their own ceremony on different days in early June.
 
Education Department had first proposed a combined one-day graduation for all high schools on Tutuila, but it was rejected by Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga. Then, a second proposal was presented to the governor’s office that called for three days only. (see below for more details on the second proposal)
 
However, DOE director Vaitinasa Dr. Salu Hunkin-Finau said late yesterday afternoon that she received an email from the Governor’s Chief of Staff Fiu Johnny Saelua, that the governor has rejected this second proposal.
 
“I have been informed that the Governor has requested that DOE schedule separate graduations each day for each high school on graduation week,” she said just before 6 p.m yesterday in the email that was send to top DOE officials.
 
“This is the final decision regarding public high school graduation as of Feb. 13 making any further discussion regarding public high school graduation moot. Per this information, please be informed that DOE high school graduation schedule will resume as we have done for the past 40 years,” she said.
 
Vaitinasa confirmed by phone to Samoa News that high school graduations for Tutuila return to the practice of past years, in which each high school will have their own graduation on separate days.
 
Graduation for public high schools start with Manu’a High School on Jun. 6th and those on Tutuila begin the week of June 9th. Specific dates for each high school on Tutuila will be released soon.
 
DOE’s first proposal of a one-day graduation on Tutuila suffered severe public criticism with many opponents commenting against the move, which Vaitinasa said would not only save time for the leaders and the community, but would unite the entire community, parents and students, by sharing this special event together on one day.
 
However, even lawmakers were against the proposal, and a group of people signed off on a petition to the governor opposing the proposed one-day celebration.
 
The second proposal was outlined in a Feb. 4 letter from Vaitinasa to Lolo, who was informed that meetings have been completed with representatives of senior students, school parents and teachers associations (PTA) officers, and PTA meetings of several high schools upon request.
 
“The general consensus from students and parents is that they prefer to have their own graduation at their own school, regardless of the format,” she said, adding that subsequently, DOE has “decided to adopt a format that will address the students and parents request and save time for officials from attending graduation ceremonies”.
 
According to the proposal, Manu’a High School will have their graduation on June 6; followed on June 10 with Leone High School and Tafuna High School at their respective campuses. Nu’uuli Vocational Technical High School will hold their ceremony on June 11, while Samoana High School and Fagaitua High School will be on June 12th, at their respective campuses.
 
During yesterday’s House Education Committee hearing, which covered a wide range of education issues, copies of the new proposal were distributed to lawmakers, who last month raised ire with the DOE director over the original proposal of one combined graduation for public high schools on Tutuila.
 
Vaitinasa told the committee yesterday the proposal is now before the governor for a decision.



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