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The Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) not only recognizes exceptional scholastic achievement, but also encourages community engagement among its members. In keeping with their tradition of organizing a community service project each semester, to round off their spring 2013 activities the PTK is appealing to the public to assist them in putting together a shipment of “goods from home” for Samoan troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.


“We’re seeking donations of packaged food that can be sent by mail,” explained PTK Vice President of Public Relations Tofa’agaoali’i “Tos” La’a, “the type of canned and dry food that’s sure to remind our soldiers of home.” The PTK is also accepting toiletries and practical gifts such as lava lavas and locally-themed t-shits. “Our goal is to give our Samoan brothers and sisters serving their country in a dangerous part of the world a greeting from all of us in American Samoa to let them know they’re appreciated and never forgotten,” said La’a.


The PTK has been collecting items for the past month both on campus and in the community. In addition to donations from individuals, they have also received a major commitment from Aveina Brothers, and they remind other local business that contributions for this worthy cause are still welcome. On the last day of the collection drive, Saturday, May 11th, the PTK will have a central Tutuila public drop-off point set up at the studios of KVZK TV in Utulei from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Those living on the east side can drop off donations at the Utu guest house in Amouli, also from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. A west side drop off location is in the works but had yet to be confirmed at press time. Prior to May 11th, donations will also be accepted during normal business hours at the office of head PTK advisor To’aiva Fiame-Tago on the ASCC campus. If anyone would like to make a donation of a substantial size, the PTK can arrange for it to be picked up.


“Through our community service projects, our members learn the value of helping in a variety of ways,” said La’a. “Our Samoan troops in Afghanistan are far, far from us physically, but they’re taking the ultimate risk in the name of the values our country stands for, and in that kind of situation anything that bridges the distance to home is a major boost to their spirits.”


The project also gives the PTK experience with reaching out to the public and planning how best to send the donated items half way around the world. “Getting the donations organized and ready for shipping is a major organizational project in itself,” La’a reflected, “but when we try to imagine what it must be like for our soldiers doing their job in a dangerous part of the world, it seems like this is the least we can do.”


A nationwide organization, Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourages excellence in scholarship among associate degree students. The Greek words Phi Theta Kappa mean wisdom (Phi), aspiration (Theta) and purity (Kappa). Every semester, the PTK advisors at ASCC review student transcripts, reference letters, application forms and essays, and other relevant data to determine which students qualify for the membership in the Society. Candidates must have taken at least 12 credits, passed their English 150, English 151 and Math 90 classes, and have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher. Qualifying students receive an invitation to join PTK, and those who accept take a pledge to uphold the values of the Society and support its activities.


Anyone seeking more information on the project or how to make donations can contact La’a at 252-0561. The PTK can also be reached by email at