Traditionally held several days prior to each semester’s commencement ceremony, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Graduate Banquet gives each graduating class an opportunity to celebrate as a group the milestone in their lives of having earned their degrees and certificates. The Banquet is also the venue at which the various ASCC academic departments recognize outstanding student achievement. The Graduate Banquet for spring 2019 took place on Wednesday, May 15th, at Famous Seafood Restaurant in Tafuna, and once again this semester’s graduating class enjoyed a relaxed social occasion at which to celebrate their own accomplishments and those of their peers.
Joining the spring 2019 graduates for the occasion were ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi-Pato; Vice Presidents Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan and Mrs. Letupu Moananu; Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Siamaua Ropeti; Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i; Office of Institutional Effectiveness Executive Director Mr. Sonny Leomiti; and Teacher Education Department Program Director Ms. Shirley Dela Rosa. In her role as MC of the event, Admissions Officer Mrs. Elizabeth Leuma kept the evening moving along.
Following welcoming remarks by Mrs. Moananu and a brief keynote speech by Dr. Ropeti, a special addition to the program was announced. ASCC alumnus Senouefa Talaina Leota-Gogo Mana’o, who graduated from the College in 2000, completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision degree from Walden University last year. Mana’o had been scheduled to have her doctorate degree conferred upon her during the fall 2018 ASCC commencement, but due to a technicality, this did not take place. Therefore, explained President Dr. Pato, the official conferring, referred to the “hooding,” would take place that evening. The ASCC deans and directors present all joined the President as she conducted the “hooding” of Mana’o, who in turned offered a heartfelt speech of thanks.
Next, Mrs. Ola Foster from Congresswoman Aumua Amata’s office offered the graduates congratulations on behalf of the Congresswoman, and explained that each of them would receive a certificate of recognition from her along with their diplomas. Next up, Ms. Delores Tautolo presented the McDonalds American Samoa Scholarship on behalf of her father, McDonalds CEO Tautolo Agaoleatu Charlie Tautolo. This semester, explained Ms. Tautolo, there would be two McDonalds Scholarship awards, one going to previous ASCC graduate Elysha Samatua, and the other to spring 2019 graduate Ionatana Tuitasi. This generous McDonalds award of $20k greatly assists promising students in meeting the financial requirements of furthering their college education.
Award recipients in the academic departments included the following:
Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources Award
Presenter: Mrs Pauline Tuitele-McFall
Recipient: Norman Lukii
Presenter: Dr. Fa’ofua Fa’atoafe
Recipients: Mayanne Faatau, Julia Faaiu (Outstanding Graduates); Ripena Aitaoto, Malae Vaimoli, Eleni Tugaga (Outstanding Service)
Health & Human Services Awards
Presenter: Mr. Derek Helsham
Recipients: Theodora Vaouli (Human Services); Theresa Ping (Health Science)
Presenter: Mr. Tunufa’i Leiato
Recipient: Adonis Maulupe
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Awards
Presenter: Mr. Kuki Tuiasosopo
Recipients: Mayanne Faatau (Leadership and Community Service), Tamara Makalio (Academic Achievement), Vaotupu Tufele (Fellowship)
Samoan Studies Award
Presenter: Mr. Evile Feleti
Recipient: Oneata Rosie Soi
Presenter: Ms. Ruby Tapuai
Recipient: Fuamai Tago
Trades & Technical Award
Presenter: Ms. Valentine Talamoni
Recipient: Adonis Maulupe
Teacher Education Department Recognition of Graduates
Presenter: Ms. Shirley Dela Rosa
AA with an emphasis in Elementary Education:
L.B. Iupati AhSee, Jamilla Asaeli, Leotina Lafi, Celestial Moetala, Kaleotaua Pula and Vaotupu Tufele
Bachelor of Education – Elementary Education
Eseta Alailesulu, Tofi Levi and Makatala Tanielu
Student Government Association (SGA) Recognition of Graduates
Presenter: Mrs. Ashley Ah Loo-Felise
Recipients: Ionatana Tuitasi (President and BHE Representative), Zemira Pati (Vice President), Samu Ioane (Secretary), Julia Faaiu (Parliamentarian), Cinta Tua’au; (Sophomore Rep.) and Samantha Amosa (Sophomore Rep.)
Dean of Student Services Award for Outstanding SGA Member 2018 -2019: Ionatana Tuitasi.
Dean of Student Services Dr. Le’i provided the closing remarks for the event, once again congratulating all of those present and wishing them success for their futures. More information on the learning opportunities offered by ASCC can be found in the College’s catalog, available for viewing online at: www.amsamoa.edu.