60th Commencement Ceremony: Friday, May 16, 2014
May 21, 2014
By ASCC Staff
The 60th ASCC Commencement Ceremony took place on Friday, May 16th, beginning with an invocation delivered by Rev. Fa’atauva’a A. Talamoni, who spoke about wisdom and knowledge, and challenged the graduates to “continue to strive for greatness, and let God fulfill your dreams and goals.” Welcoming remarks were offered by ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i and special remarks were made by Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga.
Between speakers, a special song was performed by Tonya Tuigamala, a well-received rendition of LeeAnn Womack’s hit, “I Hope You Dance.”The Commencement Address was delivered by Taeaoafua Dr. Meki Solomona, the Director of the Dept. of Human and Social Services who urged the graduates to always be respectful and stay true to their Samoan culture and heritage. “There is a strong correlation between successful and respectful,” Taeaoafua told the graduates, as he challenged the graduates to love and honor their parents and to stay close to God. “No matter where you may go in life and how successful you will be, if you do not honor and respect your parents, then you have failed,” he said.
The DHSS Director told the graduates that American Samoa is unlike any other place in the world, and that is why it is crucial for them, the youth, to continue to hold on and cherish our traditions and culture, including our language. Recalling how he was once a student Taeaoafua said he is living proof that everyone starts from the bottom and work their way towards the top. “After so many years of hard work and service, I have become who I am today,” he told the graduates, adding that even though he has a matai title and leads one of the largest departments in the American Samoa Government, one can still catch him doing domestic duties as part of his service to his family, village and church. “Believe in yourself,” Taeaoafua reiterated. “Don’t let anyone else’s voice drown out your inner voice and what your heart tells you.”
Following Taeaoafua’s inspiring address, recognition of the graduates was next on the program. As has become standard with ASCC, there is no valedictorian or salutatorian award, but the top two graduates with the highest grade point average are still acknowledged. This semester the Summa Cum Laude (grade point average of 3.90-4.00) graduate was Jireh Kaylani Kruse, followed by Anna Imelda Afoa, who graduated Magna Cum Laude (GPA of 3.75-3.89).
In addition to the graduates, who received their Associate of Arts degrees, nine graduates received their Certificate of Proficiency in Practical Nursing, while Fa’aletaua Saili was the lone graduate in the ASCC Bachelor of Education in Elementary Education Program. Mile Farani received a Master of Public Administration from American Public University, while Seugatalitasi Custodio, Cassandra La’apui, and Patrick Tom Solia were all awarded a Master of Arts in Education from Ashford University. Amy Jennifer Rebelukag received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from UH Manoa while Gloria Maiava-Tuigamala was awarded a Master of Arts in Education (Teacher Leadership) from the University of Phoenix. A Masters of Science in Nursing degree was awarded to Genevieve Ugaitafa.
The ASCC administration extends its appreciation to the Division of Student Services, the Student Government Association, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the ROTC Department, and all faculty, staff and students who contributed to making this semester’s graduation a success.