Recognition Ceremony
Sharing a happy moment at the ASCC Nursing Department's Recognition Ceremony this past Friday are (l-r) Department of Commerce Director and keynote speaker Keniseli Lafaele, ASCC Nursing chairperson Lele Ah Mu, new LPN Ria Lefiti, and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale who spoke on behalf of ASG. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC Nursing Department Holds 2014 Recognition Ceremony

July 15, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

22 young men and women who have completed their studies with the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) in the areas of Practical Nursing (LPN) and Registered Nursing (RN) were honored during the Nursing Department’s Recognition Ceremony this past Friday at the Lee Auditorium. Family and friends, along with government, health care and ASCC dignitaries, filled the venue to celebrate along with the Nursing students as they received their ceremonial nurse’s pins and caps.

Mistress of ceremonies and Nursing Department chairperson Lele Ah Mu welcomed the audience and acknowledged the presence of the many special guests, including Board of Higher Education chairman Rev. Dr. Leanavaotaua Sekuini Seva'aetasi, ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i, ASCC Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff-Belle, and the College’s Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu. Following the entry procession of the Nursing students and the opening hymn, Rev. Faatauvaa Alaelua Talamoni of Pago Pago EFKAS provided the Invocation, followed by special remarks from Dr. Kolhoff-Belle on behalf of the College and Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale on behalf of the American Samoa Government.

The evening’s keynote speaker, Department of Commerce Director Keniseli Lafaele, reminded the students of the ceremony’s theme, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” a quote from Mahatma Ghandi. He included an anecdote about a local woman who long ago dreamed of becoming a nurse, but had to put aside that goal to instead concentrate on raising her family. “She instead took a job with the cannery,” reminisced Lafaele, “and I think she took some comfort in the cannery worker’s white uniform, which reminded her of a nurse outfit.” Lafaele was speaking of his own mother, and he explained how he wished to share her story as a gentle reminder to the Nursing students that they should fully appreciate the opportunity to serve their community in a way some dream of but fate intervenes.

Nursing Department adjunct faculty member Toaga Seumalo, RN MSN, called each student for the placing of their pins and caps, which was performed by their family members under the guidance of Tofiga Tufele, President of the American Samoa Nurses Association and LBJ Director of Nursing Simamao Tuatoo. Following the pinning, capping, recitation of the Nurses Pledge, the LPN and RN groups each expressed their appreciation through spokespersons Ria Lefiti representing the former and Setoga Siatu’u the latter. Next, Tofiga Tufele, President of the American Samoa Nurses Association, presented the awards for the highest overall scores in the respective areas of theory and clinical practicum for both groups. The PN awards for theory went to Sinatina'e Leaupepe in the area of theory, and to Maria Moya Bejer in clinical practicum. Setoga Siatuu took the RN award for theory, with Audrey Mauga receiving the distinction in practicum.

A new addition to the ASCC Nursing Recognition Ceremony is the Iva “Alofa” Pisia Salazar Award. Born in American Samoa, Pisia received certification as an LPN in the local Nursing Program many years before it became associated with ASCC. She subsequently relocated to the mainland US, became Mrs. Salazar, and found that the requirements of raising a family precluded her from practicing as a full-time nurse. However, she encouraged her children to study for the health care fields. Pisia-Salazar’s children subsequently achieved a level of success in health care that has enabled them to establish a scholarship in memory of their mother, who passed away last year. Pisia’s daughter Vailala Gregory presented the scholarship award to two recipients, Setoga Fa’aolatia Siatu’u and Shane John Chen, based on their application essays.

This year’s Practical Nursing (LPN) recipients are Easter Peleiupu Aulava; Moya Gonzales Bejer; Lina Fa’afetai; Olatagasimealelei Fanolua; Joyce Fiasili Fou; Fa’afetai Ifopo, LPN; Sinaletina’e Jermane Leaupepe, LPN; Ria Su’esu’e Lefiti, LPN; and Emele Marlene Tulafono.

Recognized in the area of Registered Nursing (RN) are Shane John Chen; Staniel Vincent Dimaya; Fa’asilitama’ita’i Feleti; Senerita Letufuga; Audrey Jean Ivona Mauga; Tu’uasoitagata Camilla Panama; Ritchell Cruz Toribio; Renna Pule Salanoa; Marsha Alivia Scratch; Don Eric Sebastian; Setoga Fa’aolatia Siatu’u, RN; Fa’afetai Mataipule Taulealo and To’elau Tuiasosopo-Ufivelesili.