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1st Samoan Val at Cajon HS

San Bernardino, CA — Melody Talofa Satele has made history, becoming the first Samoan valedictorian at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California.

Melody was selected out of nearly 700 students in her senior class.

The daughter of Tonise Satele of Vailoa, Savai'i, and Siuao Asaivao Satele of Faleasao, Manu'a, Melody has the distinction of not only being the first Samoan valedictorian at her high school, she is also the first Samoan to achieve such an honor in her school district, and in the Southern California Inland Empire.

Throughout high school, Melody stayed busy, but focused.

She maintained a full Honors/International Baccalaureate schedule and is graduating with an impressive 4.88 GPA (weighted) — 4.0 (unweighted). Such a high grade point average (GPA) is a result of Melody taking college-level classes, while simultaneously taking on various extracurricular activities. She has been involved in Speech and Debate, Student Government, Mock Trial, Pacific Islanders Club, Reformers for Success, and even started her own community service club.

According to her aunt, "Melody has served as a leader and role model on her school campus, in her community, and for her culture."

When she's not doing schoolwork, Melody loves spending time with her family and friends; giving back to her community through service projects. Her hobbies include, hiking, and she loves to write.

During her four years of high school, Melody excelled in everything she set out to do.

The following is just a glimpse of her impressive achievements:

  • Highest Honors as an MYP/IB Scholar (2016)
  • League Champion as Pretrial Defense Attorney in Mock Trial (2017)
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Delegate (2017)
  • Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project Delegate (2017)
  • National Honor Society/California Scholarship Federation Member (2018)
  • Speech and Debate two-time semifinalist at state qualifying competition (2017, 2018)
  • National Forensics League All American Scholar (2018)
  • IB Diploma Candidate (2018)
  • Presidential Scholar (2018)
  • Seal of Biliteracy (2018)
  • Island Graduate (2018)
  • Valedictorian (2018)

Melody has received acceptance letters from prestigious colleges and universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, California State University in Santa Barbara, Stanford, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and the University of Southern California (USC).

After considering a multitude of factors, Melody told Samoa News last week that she has decided to continue her studies at UCLA for the next four years, majoring in global and environmental sciences.

She thanks her parents, siblings, her Aunty Salamasina Auelua, and her extended family "for the never ending love and support" thus far in her academic endeavors. She said she owes much of her success to the sacrifices they have made, and continue to make for her.

"Melody hopes to explore her passions further during her undergraduate career, to pursue a career where she can combine her interests and do well by her heritage," concluded her aunt.

Malo lava Melody!