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SPA: Don’t be comfortable and don’t be afraid of Change

South Pacific Academy grads
Class of 2022 theme — “We Survived”

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Paramount Builders is proud to sponsor coverage of all of the 2022 American Samoa High School Graduations and wishes all graduates a successful journey into the future. Be Safe. The South Pacific Academy — ‘Home of the Dolphins’ — honored 10 Dolphins as the graduating Class of 2022, during their commencement ceremony held on Saturday, June 18, 2022 at the school’s gymnasium. Its theme: “We Survived”.

Lt. Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale offered special remarks to the graduates, emphasizing that “change” is the only constant in ones lives, and to welcome it.

“Welcome change in your lives, because it is the only constant – Your journey from here on out will be marked with success and difficulties. You will lose and you will win – But throughout all of it, I hope that you will remember, this day and what you have accomplished, remember the love of your parents.

 “My message today, is that of encouragement – Don’t be comfortable with where you are today, and don’t be afraid of change, there is one constant in life and that is change – Life will change and someday you will grow up and you will be the leaders of this place, things may not be the same, but you’ll have to be ready for it, you have to continually look forward and welcome change into your lives,” he said.

Talauega concluded, “As you leave SPA today and where ever you journey, whether it be college, military, workforce, always remember, that you are a child of American Samoa. Some of you are Samoan, some of you are not Samoan, and some of you are part Samoan – But in my eyes, and in the eyes of Governor Lemanu and the government of American Samoa, you are all children of American Samoa.”

South Pacific Academy president, Paul Michael Young presented the 10 Seniors of SPA to Muagututi’a Fiti Sunia, who is the chairperson of the SPA Board of Directors for acceptance,

“As the chairman of the Board of Directors for South Pacific Academy, I hereby accept and confirm 10 graduates of South Pacific Academy’s Class of 2022 – They have fulfilled all the requirements for graduation, congratulations,” Muagututi’a stated.

This year, three students topped SPA’s academic standings and two of them were selected as Co-Valedictorians, and one Salutatorian.

Co-Valedictorian Michael Sun holds the highest SAT score in American Samoa — that of 1570 out of 1600 — and the highest ACT score in the territory with a score of 35 out of 36. He is also the first winner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Scholarship in American Samoa. He was granted a full ride scholarship to any university of his choice. He is the first student to be admitted into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from American Samoa over the past three decades, and will attend MIT this fall.

Co-Valedictorian Lily Feng holds the second highest SAT score in SPA with a score of 1520. She represented American Samoa in the Yale Young Global Scholars Program and was the only local student selected in the MIT online Science Technology and Engineering community for six months. She will be attending the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the first representative from American Samoa, as one of the 45 students selected from across the world, for the Huntsman Program.

Salutatorian Lorrina Taia’opo Melanie Lee represented SPA in a multitude of academic competitions. Her participation in school organizations include being Student Council President, the National Honor Society’s Parliamentarian, Yearbook Editor, a member of the Junior Statesmen of America Club, and Health Occupation Students of America’s Parliamentarian, Math Honor Society secretary, and the Class of 2022 secretary. She was also this year’s co-captain for both Softball and the Girls Soccer Team. This past Summer, she was the only student that was selected out of American Samoa to represent the territory in the 2021 Envision National Leadership Forum that was held in Washington D.C. She will be studying Political Science at the University of California, Irvine this fall.

Co-Valedictorians Michael Sun and Lily Feng, as well as Amber Leota were awarded ASG Scholarships.

Congresswoman Uifa’atali Aumua Amata presented Congressional Awards to all 10 graduates of SPA.

Also recognized for passing the ASVAB and enlisting to join the United States Army was Zebadiah Saofaiga Pouli Lefale.