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Tafuna High School’s 252 graduates told, “Great Things Await You”

THS 2023 grads

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — They always say to save the best for the last, and that’s exactly what Tafuna High school’s class of 2023 did, as they closed off the public school graduation season last week Friday on June 16, 2023.

252 Warriors of Tafuna High School gathered for their 2023 Commencement ceremony, held at the school’s gym, with eager and excited families and friends attending, as well as special guests, which included Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga, Acting DOE Director Folausaua Fa’afetai Teofilo, and newly appointed Western District Governor Faiivae Iuli Godinet, who was representing the ASG scholarship board.

Principal Tutuila Nauer Togilau was the Master of Ceremonies, while President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in American Samoa — Adney Reid — offered opening and closing prayers.

 “Ua Tu Malie Le Lau” was the theme of Tafuna’s graduating class.

Governor Lemanu was the keynote speaker. In his remarks, he voiced the four qualities that all Samoans should have when going out into the world as ‘themselves’.

 “First, ia e manatua lou tagata, remember who you are.” With this, great things await you, the governor said “because you not only represent yourself, you are also carrying all of us … If you remember yourself, you remember your humble beginnings. And if you remember your beginnings, you will know which path to walk in the future. Ia e manatua, e ese lava oe mai tagata uma o le lalolagi.”

For the second quality, he pointed to hard work. “Hard work is the secret of all great accomplishments, it is to learn to and love to work hard and it is to find satisfaction in going the distance and in completing a task.

 “Ua e malamalama ile upu, sulu ma le ulu”, continued Lemanu.

“Galue ma le malosi ma le fa’amaoni, aua e taui au galuega fai. Leai se mea i lenei olaga e maua ma se filemu, a e mana’o, e te galue iai.

 Third, he said, “Dream big.

One of life’s most important lessons is learning to put your losses in perspective. Have high goals and expectations, regard defeat as stages on the road to success by remembering the small victories that you achieved that have gotten you to where you are at right now.

 “Don’t lose sight of your dreams … Remember, that attitude is everything; disregard the words of those who say you can’t do it or you won’t be able to do it, just do it. The only way to learn is by doing it.

252 Warriors of Tafuna High School graduated last week Friday, June 16, 2023 — in the last Commencement ceremony for the 2023 Graduation Season in American Samoa. [photo: OA]

“And lastly, winners do not always finish first. This may seem to contradict everything that you have learned and prepared to do. In our society, we are taught from childhood that winners always come out on top, we are taught that life is a competition and that everyone who is competing with you, is a threat to your success.

 “We are also taught that there is only one winner and the rest take second place. Le vasega fau’u, o mea taua i lenei lalolagi ia te a’u, ae ia manumalo tatou uma,” expressed Gov. Lemanu concluding his special remarks.

Four Valedictorians and one Salutatorian were recognized as the top graduates of the THS Class 2023. The co-Valedictorians all had 4.0 GPAs, with the sole Salutatorian achieving a GPA of 3.99. They are as follows:

Co-Valedictorian Ms. Jenny Iuloio of Lotofaga, Aleipata, from  Maagiagi and Manase, Samoa — was the Senior class vice president, won 1st place at the 2023 Speech Festival in the Contemporary Choral Recitation category. Ms. Iuloio has received a scholarship award from the University of Arizona.

Co-Caledictorian Mr. Siaea Jr. Osa of Lotopa, Apia and Faleasao, Manu’a is the only male in the group of Vals. He scored the highest SAT score, and ACT score for THS. Mr. Osa was awarded Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He was awarded a scholarship from Utah Tech University. 

Co-Valedictorian Ms. Savannah Savali of Leone, Nu’uuli and Faleasao, Manu’a was awarded Female Scholar Athlete of the Year. She has been offered scholarships from the University of Hawaii- Manoa Campus, University of Arizona, University of Oregon, and University of California in Irvine and Davis.

Co-Valedictorian, Rylanio Urahono of Tafuna has received scholarship offers from University of Arizona, University of Hawaii- Manoa, Northern Arizona University and The Citadel.

Salutatorian Ms.Tauva Launiu of Petesa is the daughter of Penetekoso and Pu’e Launiu, She dedicated her achievements to her late grandmother, Letoe’e Loto. and gave huge thanks to her JROTC aiga for building her confidence and helping her to become a better leader.

252 Warriors of Tafuna High School graduated last week Friday, June 16, 2023 — in the last Commencement ceremony for the 2023 Graduation Season in American Samoa. A joyous occasion for the many graduates that having received their diplomas are ready to seize their moments of life out in the real world. [photo: OA]

ASG scholarships were awarded to:

•      Co-Valedictorian Siaea Osa — accepted to Utah Tech University, a major Civil Engineering;

•      David Apineru — accepted to Stanford University, a major in English;

•      Anthony Leo — accepted to Southern Utah University, a major in English;

  • •     Savannah Savali — starts at ASCC in the Fall, a major in Nursing;
  • •     Marion Afioa’e — starts at ASCC,  a major in Business Admin;
  • •     Joymer Caloyloy — starts at ASCC, a major in Animal Science;
  • •     Malevine Polu — starts at ASCC, a major in Liberal Arts;
  • •     Devinity Savusa — starts at ASCC a major in Computer Engineering;
  • •     Reed Tulafono — starts at ASCC, a major in Liberal Arts;
  • •     Salene Sili — starts at ASCC, a major in Pre-Law; and,
  • •     Luapi Sio — starts at ASCC, a major in Accting

Samoa News congratulates the Class of 2023 for seeing another academic year through, and wishes all graduates the best of luck in their future endeavors.