The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Graduate Banquet, a final social occasion for graduates-to-be as well as an occasion to honor outstanding academic achievement, was held several days prior to the College’s 64th Commencement Ceremony last week. The event, organized by the Division of Student Services, gives each ASCC department the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments students whose achievements in the many areas of study the College offers merits special recognition.
With Famous Seafood Restaurant in Tafuna as this semester’s banquet venue, the festivities kicked off with MC Katrina Garcia Helsham welcoming the graduates and introducing Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Rosevonne Pato for her welcoming remarks. Dr. Pato encouraged the graduating class to enjoy celebrating this milestone in their lives, but also to acknowledge the support of their families and communities. “Your parents and your community depend on you to stay the course with your education,” she reminded the audience, “because someday you will be guiding the generations who come after you.”
For the first awards of the evening, on behalf of the Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources Division, instructor Ionatana Faasavalu presented certificates of achievement to General Agriculture graduates Evelyn Atonio and Saumolia Noa, as well as to Natural Resources graduate Amber Ropeti. Dr. Faofua Fa’atoafe, chair of the Business Department, followed to present the award for outstanding achievement in Business to Anthony Tuiolosega. On behalf of ASCC Service Learning Coordinator Elisapeta Faalafi-Jones, Dr. Fa’atoafe also presented this semester’s Service Learning Award to Jacqueline Leatigaga.
Next, representing the office of Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman, Mrs. Fua Fuatagavi addressed the graduates to inform them that a certificate of appreciation had been prepared for each member of the graduating class. These certificates were later distributed along with the graduates’ diplomas, which they picked up from the Records/Registrar’s Office.
Fine Arts chair Kuki Tuiasosopo then took the floor to recognize the standout achievements not only of students within his department, but also among the College’s Alpha Elipson Mu chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, for whom Tuiasosopo currently serves as co-advisor. For the PTK Awards, Hadassha Tofilau took home the Scholarship Award; both the Leadership Award and the Community Service Award went to Kimberly Iosefo; and Anthony Tuiolosega received the Fellowship Award. From the Fine Arts department, the Art Award went to Loimata Siona, Louisa Faulkner and Tanumaleu Luani. Recipients of the Music Appreciation Award were Shevon Fuavai, Paul Crichton, T.J.F. Logoleo and Jocco Asotau. Recognized with a Drama Medal of Appreciation Award were Dezmond Applin, Jocco Asotau, Princess Brown, Marietta Fa'atu'uala, Pauline Iuliano, John Junior Pu'e, Tanumaleu Luani, Loimata Siona, Falemalama Vaisagote, and Merry-Christmas Noel Seuseu.
On behalf of the Samoan Studies Institute, chair Mr. Evile Feleti presented this semester’s awards to Jocco Asotau, Rore Tina Ale and Tavake Fomai. For the College’s Peer Tutor program, Isaako Amosa recognized Liu Lafaele and Hadassha Tofilau for outstanding service. Representing the Teacher Education Department, Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu recognized this semester’s seven graduates who have completed their Bachelor in Education degrees: Alisi Iongi-Filiaga, Sammy Maiava, Leiloa Seafa, Eleanor Siavi’i, Keneti Sionesini, Camio Smith, and Luana Sula.
Instructor Adullum Esera of the Trades & Technology Division presented a certificate of recognition to Anthony Tuiolosega, and Dr. Randel DeWees of the Science Department recognized Hadassha Tofilau for her achievements. The final round of awards was presented by Student Government Association (SGA) President Vaimalu Vaiau. First, she called forth the five graduating SGA members – Thelma Rosary Love, MJ Sword, Tabitha Tuigamala, Merry Seuseu, and Maurice Pabon – to receive their medallions, collars and envelopes signifying their successful tenure as part of the SGA. All five also received individual awards in various areas of service. Finally, Ms. Vaiau presented Dean of Student Service Dr. Emilia Le’i with an engraved plate as a token of appreciation for her steadfast leadership this semester.
On receiving her award from the SGA, Dr. Le’i also provided the evening’s closing remarks. “We are so glad you all could join us for this occasion,” she said. “I congratulate those recognized for their outstanding academic achievements, and also each and every one of you who will soon graduate. I wish you happy and safe celebrations, as well as a bright future in your academic and professional careers.”