Gov. Lolo tells Kanana Fou seniors that public schools may be failing to instill Christian values
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga told a private high school graduation ceremony that the public school system may be failing to instill Christian values in students that are significant in the development of core values.
He also challenged the graduates to become beacons of the community in efforts to reverse the negative and alarming trends faced by teenagers in American Samoa. He cited as an example the alarmingly high rate of teen pregnancy.
Lolo was providing special remarks during last Friday’s graduation ceremony for Kanana Fou High School, which is owned and operated by the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, the largest religious faith in the territory.
According to the governor the failure to instill Christian values, "which are significant in the development of our system of core values in which prudent decisions are based,” is grave.
“Our system of values is driven and influences the decisions that we make in every day life. And our Christian beliefs provide the basis and the basic foundation from which values are developed,” he said.
Towards to end of his brief remarks, the governor challenged graduates to be the beacon or the catalyst to “reverse the alarming negative trends,” which block their future and deprive them of the promises of what “God has in store for you.”
“For example, teen pregnancy continues to rise steadily; more young people are experimenting with drugs; alcohol consumption by school age population is becoming the norm and not the exception,” he said.
He also says that smoking and hanging out with friends instead of engaging in productive behavior is wrongly considered the “cool thing to do”.
“These behaviors are like thieves at night because they take away God’s promise of prosperity, reserved for those who follow God's plan contained in the scriptures,” he said.
In January this year, the American Samoa Coalition for Youth Preservation, LBJ Family Planning Program announced in a news release that the teen pregnancy rate in American Samoa rose from 7.7% of new births in 2001 to 11.3% births in 2011. From January to September 2012, the teen pregnancy rate was 29%.
The American Samoa Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) released in late 2011 shows an increase in the use of serious drugs such as methamphetamine while there was a slight decrease in alcohol and tobacco use compared to the 2007 YRBS survey.
The survey was conducted by the local Department of Education.
More details of the Kanana Fou High School graduation will be in Tuesday’s edition of Samoa News.