Academic Achievement recognized at ASCC Graduate Banquet

As each semester nears its end at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), the Division of Student Services hosts its Graduate Banquet, a social occasion for the graduating students which includes recognition of outstanding academic achievement. The spring 2017 ASCC Graduate Banquet took place on Wednesday, May 17th, at the Fiafia Restaurant in Tafuna, and once again featured a celebration of the graduating class as a whole, as well as individual accomplishments in the diverse areas of study offered by the College.

Mr. Peteru Lam Yuen of the ASCC Financial Aid Office served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, and called on Dr. Larry Purcell of the Teacher Education Department to give the ceremony’s opening prayer. Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan gave the welcoming remarks; advising the assembled graduates, “Don’t let this be the end! An exciting life awaits you as you continue with your life either off-island or here at home.”

Mrs. Pauline Tuitele-McFall of Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR)/Land Grant gave the first awards of the evening, recognizing Jennet Chang as Outstanding ACNR Student of the Semester, and also recognized Logomalu Papalii, June Talamoni, Fatima Aneki, Iosefa Leifi and Pesamino Poyer for completing their Associate of Science degree in General Agriculture. Dr. Faofua Faatoafe of the Business Department continued the ceremony by recognizing the seven graduates from her department: Simanu Lili’o, Lusia Vaaiga, James Lauama, Oriana Leasoon, Edwina Tanielu, Pila Patu, and Helena Levi.

Next, Criminal Justice Department chairperson Mrs. Rosie Ah Chee-Toeava presented this semester’s award for outstanding achievement to Vaimalu Vaiau. Representing the office of Congresswoman Aumua Amata, Education Coordinator Mr. Howard Howard addressed the graduates, explaining that each of them would receive a Congressional Award from the Congresswoman, but in the interest of saving time these certificates would be available for pickup from the Student Services office. Mr. Howard relayed Congresswoman Aumua’s wishes of good luck to all of the graduates

 For the Health & Human Services Department, Mr. Derek Helsham presented departmental awards to Motutama Sipelii, Tausaafia Uiagalelei and Yean Ji Jung. Then, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society advisor Mr. Kuki Tuiasosopo announced the society’s outstanding achievers for the semester, with Lusia Vaaiga winning the Community Service Award, Leilani Vili receiving the Academic Achievement Award, and Simanu Lili’o taking the Fellowship Award. Mr. Tuiasosopo also acknowledged graduating PTK members Motutama Sipelii, Jennet Chang, Irene Tan, Evander Kitiona, Yean Ji Jung, Jemalanie Amataga, Naifou Meafou and Jonah Choi.

Mr. Anthony Felise of the Math Department presented the award for achievement to John Scanlan. Next was a special presentation by Mrs. Delores Tautolo Galea’i, Chief Financial Officer of McDonalds American Samoa, who announced that the prestigious McDonalds Scholarship of $20,000 would go this semester to a Jennet Chang. Mr. Elisaia Mailo of the Samoan Studies Department presented the award for spring 2017 to Salome Saili, and Science instructor Dr. Randel DeWees called yet again on Jennet Chang to receive her third major recognition of the evening, the Science Department Award.

Mrs. Lilian Temese announced the spring 2017 recipients of the Social Science Department Awards as Noelani Semaia, Mary Nautu and Garrett Seumalo. Next, Director of Teacher Education Shirley Delarosa and Dr. Larry Purcell recognized the seven students who have completed their Associate of Arts (AA) degree in Teacher Education, and the seven more who have earned their Bachelors in Education (B.Ed.). This semester’s AA graduates are Eseta Alailesulu, Leala Ieremia, Omeka Tagoai, Dorothy Tini, Jasmine Tupe, Leilani Vili and Wanita Iosefa-Pone, while completing the four-year BEd program are Herthalina Aumoeualogo, Valasi Finauga, Mereane Laumatia, Paul Manuma, Tofoipupuelemeise Pula, Jessebeth Ropeti, and Hillary Purcell.

For the Trades & Technology Division, instructor Mr. Ernie Seiuli presented the award for the semester’s highest grade point average to Nafanua R. Tialu, followed by the presentation of the Peer Tutor award by Lead Tutor Mr. Isaako Amosa to June Talamoni. Representatives Norman Puipui and Danielle Sagiao from the Student Government Association (SGA) bestowed the ceremonial medallion, hood, certificate and gift of appreciation on graduating members Yeah Ji Jung, Salome Saili, Siigavaa Falealii, Mary Hail Nautu, Kevin Feliua’i, Sonny Tuia, Motu Sipeli’i and Meleane Savusa, with the latter two individuals also receiving awards for outstanding leadership.

The SGA also presented a token of appreciation to Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i in recognition of her work on behalf of not only the Association but, the student body as a whole. Dr. Le’i’s acceptance of the SGA’s gift provided a natural transition into her special remarks to round off the evening. “Wherever your journey takes you,” she encouraged the soon-to-be graduates, “always remember your time at ASCC.” Dr. Le’i also took the opportunity to remind the students that the College now has a four-year program in Teacher Education should they choose that path in the future.

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