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Photos: ASCC graduates 121 at 60th Commencement

blue@samoanews.com
A total of 121 students graduated from the American Samoa Community College last Friday during the institution’s 60th Commencement Exercise that was held in the ASCC gym. [photo by B. Chen]

The weather was perfect and the crowd was just right last Friday during the 60th Commencement Exercise for the American Samoa Community College.
 
The event started with the usual procession, posting of colors, and an opening anthem performed by the ASCC concert choir.
 
The invocation was delivered by Rev. Fa’atauva’a A. Talamoni who spoke about wisdom and knowledge, and challenged the graduates to “continue to strive for greatness, and let God fulfill your dreams and goals.”
 
Welcoming remarks were offered by ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i and special remarks were made by Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.
 
Amidst the ceremony, a special song was performed by Tonya Tuigamala, who sang LeeAnn Womack’s blockbuster hit, “I Hope You Dance”, to a receptive crowd with people who either sang along or nodded to the tune.
 
The Commencement Address was delivered by Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona, the Director of the Dept. of Human and Social Services who urged the graduates to always be respectful and stay true to their Samoan culture and heritage.
 
“There is a strong correlation between successful and respectful,” he told the graduates. Taeaoafua challenged the graduates to love and honor their parents and to stay close to God.
 
No matter where you may go in life and how successful you will be, if you do not honor and respect your parents, then you have failed, he said.
 
The DHSS Director told the graduates that American Samoa is unlike any other place in the world, and that is why it is crucial for them, the youth, to continue to hold on and cherish our traditions and culture, including our language.
 
Taeaoafua said he was once a student and he is living proof that everyone has to start from the bottom and work towards the top. After so many years of hard work and service, I have become who I am today, he told the graduates, adding that even though he has a matai title and leads one of the largest departments in the American Samoa Government, one can still catch him doing domestic duties as part of his service to his family, village and church.
 
“Believe in yourself,” he kept reiterating. “Don’t let anyone else’s voice drown out your inner voice and what your heart tells you.”
 
As has become the norm in ASCC graduations — there are no valedictorian or salutatorian awards, but acknowledged are the top two graduating with the highest grade point average in the class: Summa Cum Laude (grade point average of 3.90-4.00) was Jireh Kaylani Kruse, followed by Anna Imelda Afoa, who graduated Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.75-3.89).
 
In addition to the graduates, who received their Associate of Arts degrees, nine graduates received their Certificate of Proficiency in Practical Nursing, while Fa’aletaua Saili was the lone graduate in the ASCC Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education Program.
 
Mile Farani received a Master of Public Administration from American Public University, while Seugatalitasi Custodio, Cassandra La’apui, and Patrick Tom Solia were all awarded a Master of Arts in Education from Ashford University.
 
Amy Jennifer Rebelukag received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UH Manoa while Gloria Maiava-Tuigamala was awarded a Master of Arts in Education (Teacher Leadership) from the University of Phoenix.
 
A Masters of Science in Nursing degree was awarded to Genevieve Ugaitafa.
 
The DPS Office of Highway Safety congratulates this year’s graduates and encourages everyone to practice safety on the road at all times. Don’t drink and drive and always buckle up. Let’s make this a safe and accident-free graduation season.

Jireh Kaylani Kruse graduated Summa Cum Laude (grade point average of 3.90-4.00) for the 2014 Spring Class of ASCC, whose commencement exercise was last week Friday. As has become norm in ASCC graduations — there are no valedictorian or salutatorian awards. The 60th ASCC Commencement Exercise was held at the ASCC gymnasium. [photo: B. Chen]
Anna Imelda Afoa graduated Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.75-3.89) in last Friday’s 60th ASCC Commencement Exercise held at the ASCC gymnasium. [photo: B. Chen]
Visa Vaiau of Aunu’u (back row, middle) is the recipient of this year’s McDonald’s American Samoa Scholarship of $20,000. Visa will be attending the University of Hawa’ii, Manoa during the fall and she is pictured here with her proud parents Kitara and Vise, Rev. Father Asalemo Asalemo Jr., and friends. [photo: B. Chen]
Director of the Dept. of Human and Social Services, Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona delivered the commencement address Friday during the ASCC 60th Commencement Exercise. He is pictured here with Dr. Annie Fuavai. [photo: B. Chen]
Andrew Patolo Tausaga was one of the 121 graduates who were recognized and honored during the ASCC 60th Commencement Exercise held last Friday. He is pictured here with his mother Etevise and members of his family. [photo: B. Chen]
Monsignor Viane Etuale was among the group of ASCC faculty, staff and members of the Board of Higher Education, who witnessed the 60th Commencement Exercise for the American Samoa Community College held last Friday at the ASCC gymnasium. [photo: B. Chen]
Easter Peleiupu Aulava (middle) graduated Friday during the 60th ASCC Commencement Exercise with a Certificate of Proficiency in Practical Nursing. Congratulations! [photo: B. Chen]
Mrs. Pohakalani Mauga, wife of Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga is pictured here with Mrs. Talamoni, wife of CCCAS Pago Pago minister Rev. Fa'atauva'a who delivered the invocation during the ASCC 60th Commencement Exercise last Friday. Seated next to her is Delores Tautolo-Galea'i, who was there to present McDonalds American Samoa's $20,000 scholarship award which went to Visa Vaiau. [photo: B. Chen]


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