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Local student awarded SPIO’s Extracurricular Excellence Scholarship

Lessei Perelini with her awards
compiled by Samoa News staff

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — 2019 Samoan High School graduate, Lessei Perelini, who also served at the time as president of the student body association, has been awarded a South Pacific Islander Organization scholarship.

Born in New Zealand, she later moved to American Samoa with her family. Perelini is the recipient of SPIO’s Inaugural Extracurricular Excellence Scholarship of US$5,000.

SPIO announced the recipient last Friday, along with names of the recipients of the organization’s two other inaugural scholarships — Academic Excellence and Community Leadership.

SPIO’s website ( published the recipients profiles. Under her profile, Perelini also includes a message saying that “To my loving parents and grandparents, thank you for honing me into the young woman I am today and instilling the core values of God, family, and respect.”

She gave special acknowledgement and words of gratitude to Mrs. Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka, Mr. Michael Homsany, Mrs. Roxanne Suavaa-Salave’a, Ms. Kacie Fujino, and Ms. Se’epa Poiali’i “for your letters of recommendation and faith in my capabilities.”

Perelini was among the local students who were recipients of 2018 Junior Statesman of America Summer School Program Scholarship Award. She attended the summer program at Princeton University.

SPIO is a 100% grassroots nonprofit founded in December 2018 by four Indigenous Pacific Islander Stanford Univ. alumni who believe in democratizing Pacific Islander access to higher education and economic opportunities, globally, according to the organization’s website.