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SHS Ocean Science/Ocean Swimming class ends with ‘Now What’ Projects

The Samoana High School Ocean Science/Ocean Swimming (OS/OS) class presented their ‘Now What’ projects last Friday, during the last day of school before their holiday vacation.

“The students made a presentation of what they learned in the Ocean Science part of the OS/OS class during the Semester,” said Isabel A. Gaoteote. “Not only did they showcase what they learned, they also explained how they will put to use outside of the classroom, what they learned during the class”.

Special guest speaker to the class was Kimberly McGuire who was part of the ‘Pacific Voyagers’ group, who spoke to the students about her trip with other Pacific Islanders around the Pacific Ocean on traditionally built canoes earlier this year.

“In Marine Science there might also be other opportunities for these students to participate and learn about conservation and becoming good stewards of the ocean, perhaps becoming part of the Pacific Voyagers,” said Gaoteote.

In attendance for the presentation were representatives from the Department of Commerce, Samoana High School, Coral Reef Advisory Group and the American Samoa Aquatics Agency (ASAA). “The ASAA played a huge part in this, because they are the swimming instructors for this OS/OS class,” she said.

Three students received special recognition for performing exceptionally well both in the classroom and in the water during the swimming part of the training.

Meauta Mageo also received special recognition for taking up the challenge of becoming the Department of Education representative for the OS/OS class.

“We're looking forward to starting another OS/OS class,” said Gaoteote.

Samoa News also spoke to Charles Miller, the Educational Assistant at the National Marine Sanctuaries of American Samoa, who is also the Assistant Instructor of the Ocean Science part of the OS/OS class. “Since the class began last August, we noticed some of the kids lacked the skills that they needed to become proficient swimmers,” said Miller.

At that time the students also lacked the knowledge about what lies in the ocean. “That is where we come in" he said. " We try to educate them on the importance on some of the corals, the fish, and how we as humans are impacting the ocean”.

“We saw how the students progressed through the whole semester. It was an extraordinary sight to see what they learned. We just hope now since that the class is finished they will apply what they have learned here to their daily routine and also share what they have learned with others”.

He went on to say, now the big bonus is that they know how to swim and are proficient swimmers, so that when they are in the water they feel more comfortable and safe. “That was the main goal for the OS/OS class, to educate them so that they can share what they learned and let it soak into their minds,” said Miller.

Samoa News spoke with two of the OS/OS students, Tofa’i Su’a and Christine Unutoa who received special recognition for exceptional performance. They both said that it was an honor to receiving this recognition, and wished to thank all of those people who helped make this day possible. Su’a, who recently joined the ASAA, will be making a 1.2 mile swim with the ASAA this coming Saturday morning at Utulei Beach Park, to help spread the awareness and importance of keeping our waters clean — and to bring in the New Year.