Manumalo Academy graduates 35 who will be “Moving On”

blue@samoanews.com

Thirty-five of the territory’s future leaders were recognized yesterday during Manumalo Academy’s 8th grade graduation ceremony, held in the school chapel, and attended by dozens of teary-eyed parents, proud teachers, and beaming family members and friends.

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.

The program was led by the school’s kindergarten principal, Puamemea Ifopo.

The highlight of the ceremony was a powerful keynote address delivered by Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato, the current president of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC).

In her remarks, Dr. Makaiwi-Pato referred to the school’s logo: a burning red flame, and she challenged the graduates to continuously “add fuel to the fire — keep it burning.”

The ASCC president said fire needs a few key elements in order for it to continue burning, one of them being oxygen.

Dr. Makaiwi-Pato told the graduates that the oxygen they need in order to move on in life consists of “your parents, God, culture, and family.” She added that oxygen is useless if there is no wood, which she said comes in the form of education (extracurricular activities, curriculum, etc).

She warned the graduates about the struggles they will face in high school, the peer pressure they will encounter, and the obstacles they will have to overcome as the work gets harder and giving up will seem like the only option.

“Somebody ignited the flame in you all many years ago and it was your parents, your first teachers,” she said, adding that the fire must keep burning as they keep “moving on.”

This year, three students — all females and all members of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) — took home the Top Three honors.

First honorable mention was awarded to Jade Kruse, with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.98

Jade, who placed first overall in her category during the recent Territorial Science Fair, told Samoa News that she aims to work as a criminal investigator in the future.

The older of Pastor Don and Hope Kruse’s twin girls, Jade and her identical twin Jewel have consistently gone head-to-head in academics.

This year was no exception.

The second honorable mention was presented to Jewel Kruse who placed first overall in the Territorial Math Competition and has her sight set on becoming a civil engineer.

The Kruse sisters have excelled not only in the classroom, but also in sports.

The two were part of Manumalo Academy’s JV Girls Basketball Team that took home the championship title last month, the school’s first time entering a team into the ASHSAA program.

Third honorable mention went to Jennifer Liang, one of three children born to Chinese immigrants Guo Jun Liang and Li Hong Ying.

The 13-year-old from Fagaima was also a part of the Flames JV girls basketball championship team and she placed in the Top Three overall during the Territorial Math Competition.

The other two awards that were presented yesterday were the Citizenship Award, presented to Chloe Joan Villorante, and the Leadership Award, presented to Jade Kruse.

Vice chairperson of the Manumalo Academy school board, Mrs. Donna Gurr, confirmed the graduates, after they were presented their diplomas.

Today, the Home of the Flames will host the last of its three scheduled graduations, when five seniors walk across the stage to receive their high school diplomas in a ceremony set to start at 9 a.m.