“As We End, We Begin”

Four grads at Home of the Flames
blue@samoanews.com

For the first time in four years, Manumalo Academy graduated a senior class.

Manumalo High School was closed for one year back in 2013 and since it reopened, this is the first graduating class.

The four graduates of the Flames Class of 2017 are: Alice Park, Seon Woong Ham, Shawn Min Ki, and Feng Lin Chen, all of whom will be heading off island to further their education.

This year’s coverage of the 2017 high school graduation season — for Valedictorian and Salutatorian — is brought to by Paramount Builders, a local company that prides itself in promoting education and investing in the territory’s children and students.

Last Friday morning, parents, family members, and friends gathered to witness the special graduation ceremony that was led by kindergarten principal Puamemea Ifopo inside the school chapel.

It was the last of Manumalo’s three graduations (K5, 8th grade, 12th grade) for this school year.

Director of Education Dr. Ruth Sipili Matagi-Tofiga delivered the special remarks and hymns were sung by the high school student body.

Vice Chair of the American Samoa Government’s Financial Aid Board, Mrs. Donna Gurr was in attendance to announce the recipients of two ASG scholarships: Alice Park (valedictorian) and Seon Woong Ham (salutatorian).

Fua Fuatagavi, Special Assistant to Congresswoman Aumua Amata, presented the congressional award — which went to all four graduates.

The graduates were presented by Seongshim Park and confirmed by Li’omatua Hailey Ripley, chairman of the Manumalo Academy Board of Directors.

This year’s highest honor went to Alice Park, with an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.88

Park was second place overall during the recent Territorial Math Competition and has been accepted to various off island colleges including Georgia Institute of Technology, New York University, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

She will be attending the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) on a four-year scholarship of $34,000 per year.

The Class of 2017 valedictorian, who also served as the vice president of the National Honor Society (NHS), aspires to become an executive for Google.

Park will be joined on the campus of NYIT by fellow graduate Feng Lin Chen, who also received a four-year scholarship to attend the east coast school.

Class salutatorian Seon Woong Ham, son of Hyun M. Park and Hyung Kyu Ham, has other plans. While he was accepted to the University of California (UC) Riverside and the University of California (UC) Davis, the 18-year-old from Faleniu, who served as the National Honor Society (NHS) president, will be heading to the Big Apple to study forensics at Syracuse University, with the ultimate goal of working for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) someday.

Shawn Min Ki was accepted to UC Davis, the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz, and the University of Hawaii, but he has decided to relocate to the west coast and attend the University of California (UC) at Irvine later this fall. Feng Lin Chen is slated to also further his education off island.

Friday’s commencement exercise ended with special remarks by Manumalo High School principal Tiana Trepanier, and a closing prayer by Pastor Filifa’atali Mike Fuiava.

The graduates were showered with candy ula, homemade crowns made of money, and lots of hugs and well wishes.

Congratulations Manumalo Flames Class of 2017!

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