73rd ASCC Commencement to Take Place this Friday

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Published on December 7, 2020

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will hold its 73rd Commencement Ceremony this Friday, December 11, beginning at 10 a.m.  Ninety-one prospective graduates are expected to receive their degrees and certificates, although the final number will depend on final examination results. For this semester’s Commencement, ASCC will use its central malae adjacent to the Multi-Purpose Center as the site of the ceremony. American Samoa’s current Teacher of the Year Sabrina Suluai-Mahuka will serve as the occasion’s Keynote Speaker.

Suluai-Mahuka graduated from ASCC in 2011 with an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. Subsequently received a Bachelor of Education degree in 2014 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and went on to earn her Master of Education in Curriculum Studies in 2016. Continuing with UH Manoa, Suluai-Mahuka is currently pursuing her PhD in Learning Technology and Design, which she anticipates she will complete in May 2021.

As she pursues her PhD long-distance, here at home Suluai-Mahuka serves as a Secondary Education Teacher for the American Samoa Department of Education. For the almost ten years now, Sabrina has taught English Language Learners from all over the island, and averages about 100 students per academic year. In addition, she acts as an advisor and lecturer for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Pacific Masters of Education (PACMED) program for the Pacific Region. In her role as PACMED instructor, Sabrina facilitates tertiary courses with UH Manoa graduate students in American Samoa, Hawaii, and the Republic of Marshall Islands.

Known for her leadership as either a student or an instructor, Suluai-Mahuka earned the title of Nobel Educator of Distinction with the National Society of High School Scholars, actively participated as a member of the Phi Lambda Theta Honor Society, and represented American Samoa at the 2019 Young Pacific Leaders program. In 2017 she founded the community service project, Finafinau, which focuses on youth advocacy for the environment. In this capacity, she works with over 50 youth each year to coordinate coast clean ups, tree planting, and school outreach visits, with the hope to promote environmental conservation and resilience. This past March, Suluai-Mahuka was the first American Samoan to win the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators from the United States Environmental Protection Agency for all of Region 9. In addition, she was recently named the 2021 Territorial Teacher of the Year for American Samoa.

“We feel immeasurably proud of all that Sabrina has accomplished since graduating from ASCC,” said the College’s Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i. “She’s a shining example of how far commitment can take you, and we look forward to the insights she will share with our graduating class.” Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga, members of the Board of Higher Education and other dignitaries have also been invited to attend. Because of limited parking immediately adjacent to the ASCC malae, Dr. Le’i advises the public to park at the ASCC Gymnasium and then take the short walk to the site of the Commencement.

For more information on this Friday’s ceremony, call the ASCC Division of Student Services at 699-2722, ext. 0004.