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Find your passion

William Ena Spitzenberg was the commencement speaker at last Friday’s American Samoa Community College Fall graduation. [photo: Leua Aiono Frost]

William Ena Spitzenberg was the commencement speaker at last Friday’s American Samoa Community College Fall graduation of 2017 at the ASCC Gymnasium. The co-valedictorian of his 1996 ASCC graduating class, Spitzenberg went on to earn a degree in civil engineering and now serves as Chief Water Engineer for ASPA.

As part of his address, Spitzenberg challenged graduates “to continue to strive towards even loftier goals” after ASCC. He went on to share his struggle to reach his goals in life, saying that his parents, who didn’t get a formal education and never graduated from elementary, “instilled in me the love of learning and to always strive for the best ‘me’, I can be.”

“I had realized at a very young age, that education was the key to success,” he said, adding that if he didn’t get “good grades”, he would never have the opportunity to go to college “because my parents couldn’t afford it.”

Additionally, “no matter what situation you are in now, it does not shape who you will become in the future,” he said and suggested to the graduates “three choices you must make now, for a brighter future for you and your family.”

Choice number one, “choose now to find your passion and your purpose and stay true to yourself,” he explained. “Following your passion will lead you to finding your true purpose in life. The Lord has blessed you with many talents [that are] uniquely yours”.

Choice number two, “choose now to never stop learning and make it a priority,” he said and told graduates to “seek higher learning as much as possible” and that “higher education will open so many doors for you”.

“Finally and most important choice you need to make now is, ‘put God first in your life’. Samoa Muamua le Atua,” he said to loud applause from the audience, and noted that he was “blessed to have grown up in a home that morning and evening ‘faigalotu’ (prayers) were a daily ritual.”

“Putting God first in your life, will give you the opportunity to really find your true self and purpose in life,” said Spitzenberg, who between his college education earning higher degrees spent two years in the Philippines for missionary work for the Mormon Church. “You can achieve anything in life, if you never give up. You were created by God to succeed.”

“Find joy in your journey where ever you decide to go. After all, the life you live is created by the choices you make. So choose wisely and help others along the way,” he said and cited a quote from Mother Theresa, “Life is a promise. Go fulfill it.”

In conclusion, he called on graduates that “when you find success, please come home and help our people.”

See Samoa News edition Dec. 4 on ASCC press release with Spitzenberg’s background a read full text of his speech linked below.