Rep. Samuel Meleisea keynote speaker at ASCC Commencement
Last Friday morning the American Samoa Community College held their 65th Commencement Ceremon, at the school gymnasium with numerous family members, friends and supporters of all 139 graduates attending. Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga representing the government had an opportunity to congratulate the graduates and offer special remarks.
Focusing on the crossroad graduates are now standing on, Lemanu said, “You’re looking straight ahead at the life before us, we know you must take a direction, yet you remain in the middle of the road. Some of you will have circular mind games on which direction is the right path to take.
“As we move along into clarity, taking the right path is making the right choice – hate versus sorrow, freedom versus responsibility, love versus justice, right versus wrong. My point is graduates — your decision … you are the keeper of your own future, be productive and be happy,” he said.
He concluded, “Just… advice for you my fellow graduates from an African proverb – ‘If you want to go fast, go by yourself; if you want to go far, go together.’ Fast is fun, we all want to go fast, straight, to cover a lot of ground, but then you’ll be exhausted, tired and worn out — no one will be there to motivate you to go forward.”
President of the American Samoa Community College, Dr. Rosevonne Pato, during her welcoming remarks encouraged the graduates to let their achievement “be a passport for everything that you’ll be doing in the future – take your accomplishments of today and allow you to keep going and not to stop.”
She said, “Take the step, challenge yourself – this is the next step, so many doors are now open for you with the achievement of your degrees and certificates. You have earned it, move forward, walk with God, walk in faith, and you will never stand still. Congratulations graduates … Always remember as it was stated by our Reverend — always remember where you started, the roots that you began with and take the next step to move onto your journey.”
Introduced as the keynote speaker of the ceremony newly elected House of Representatives from District 15, Tualauta, Samuel Meleisea, a graduate of ASCC, who went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Hawai’i Hilo, in the fall of 2014. He is the eldest son of Peniamina and Fa’auliuli Meleisea; and graduated from Tafuna High School in 2009.
At the age of 25, Samuel Meleisea is the second youngest elected official to the American Samoa House of Representatives. So’oso’oali’i Savali (who later held the title of Sotoa) was the first youngest, also at the age of 25, which is a constitutional requirement.
During his keynote speech, Meleisea said “ When I was first notified to provide this keynote address I told your President and Dean that this is such a great honor that such a great honor is usually for those individuals with great significance – who are usually older, no offense. However, both your President and Dean believed that I should seize this moment and share the wonderful journey that I’ve had that has helped me in my success in this past election – each of us have our own unique journey, but trust me when I say that you are never quite alone.”
Meleisea then spoke of his own journey — his fears of leaving home, stepping into the unknown — but having the support of family. He advised the graduates that “no matter what you do in life outside of ASCC with your plan whether to continue your education, find work within the United States, join the Military, or maybe, just maybe, run for office — always remember to sit down and talk out your future with your family.
“All of us need a sure structure like a family, to ensure success in whatever endeavors we pursue. You and I can’t possibly do everything alone, that’s not how we’re wired,” he said.
He emphasized that “as Samoans we do things together, I know that sometimes we get pressured from our families — but they’re only trying to push you, so you can reach your full potential. Our families can be our strongest supporters and it’s important for you to know that what ever you do and where ever you go, they’ll always be there for you.”