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ASCC Students earn leadership awards

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) students Pearl Sheck, Dona Maifala and Tofi Coffin received Certified Student Leader credentials during the recent National Center for Student Leadership (NCSL) Conference in Boston, MA. They were among the 95 students that participated in the Certified Student Leader (CSL) Program, an intensive addition to the regular conference activities.

During the CSL Program, students developed a strategic plan for a project to bring an idea to life on their campus. Students worked in teams with others from around the country to generate and develop ideas, formulate a vision, set goals, and devise an action plan for something that will enhance their campus.

The ASCC students, all members of the Student Government Association (SGA), attended the Boston conference along with advisor Maxine Tuiolemotu. Sheck, who is also the reigning Miss ASCC, said that the conference has given her a new and inspiring conception of leadership. “Before this trip, we knew what leadership meant but not the whole concept of it”, she explained. “It isn’t just about leading a group of people, but mainly about how to lead them. Also, as a famous person once said, ‘To motivate others you have to motivate yourself first’.  With the elections coming soon, I believe that the concepts we learned from the conference can help those who are planning to become leaders for our people. For example, it’s never about you being a leader, but it’s always about the changes you make as a leader”.

For Maifala, one highlight was meeting the other student leaders from around the nation, who he said provided engaging role models.  “Their enthusiasm as well as their spirit has been a wake-up call for me”, he enthused. “They have reminded me that I can reach my goals if I have the desire to.  In addition, I had lots of important experiences that will be useful for not only myself but as well as for the SGA as a whole.” As a project for the betterment of the ASCC campus, Maifala said he and Sheck will try to assist with the implementation of an online registration process. “We will look into what the status is with online registration at ASCC”, he said, “and will try to assist in the process of getting online registration up and running.”

NCSL has been providing leadership development opportunities for college student leaders and their advisors for more than thirty years. Started in 1978, NCSL has impacted tens of thousands of college students from across the country and around the world. NCSL has evolved over the years while expanding its offerings beyond its highly popular in-person conferences to include online training and other resources. The conferences, held every April and November, continue to be the cornerstone of NCSL and remain a vital training forum for today’s student leaders. Students from over 200 colleges and universities attend NCSL conferences each year. In addition to the conferences, NCSL offers a large and growing library of online courses, training CDs, and white papers. These training resources provide the fundamentals for both the new and experienced leaders, and dive deep into specific areas of leadership.

Now back to his regular roles as a student leader, Maifala has one unusual insight that he says will motivate him to stay focused on his goals. “Most of the students we met at the conference don’t know where American Samoa is located,” he recalled. “The question I was commonly asked was, ‘Where is American Samoa? Is it in Hawaii?’ This makes me not feel so bad about not being an expert on the outside world, because even the student leaders in the outside world aren’t experts at every bit of knowledge either.”

For more information on the NCSL, visit their website at