ASCC-SSI Awards Winner in Samoan Writing Competition
November 9, 2015
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
In a well-attended ceremony earlier this month, the Samoan Studies Institute (SSI) at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) awarded Miss Soofaatasi Kilisome the first place prize in the Institute’s competition for the best piece of original writing in the Samoan language. Miss Kilisone’s winning piece was a short story titled, “E mamana upu a tagata o le Atua,” which was read to the audience at the ceremony by SSI Director Mrs. Okenaisa Fauolo-Manila.
Miss Kilisome is a full time ASCC student who also teaches at Kanana Fou Elementary School, and several of the schools administrators and teachers attended the award ceremony to show support, including Dr. Minareta Thompson, herself a former SSI associate. Family and friends were also on hand to support the two runners-up in the competition, second place winner Falemalama Vaisagote and third place winner Fanny Sealii.
SSI Director Fauolo-Manila credited Institute faculty member. Tamari Mulitalo-Cheung for envisioning the competition as a creative venue for promoting writing in Samoan, which in turn aligns with the College’s mission of increasing awareness of Samoa and the Pacific. Also recognized for their roles in the competition were Program Coordinator Elisaia Mailo, Department Chair Evile Feleti, instructor Alofa Nuusila and Senior Researcher Teleiai Ausage. The Institute announced the competition in September, open to both Samoan Studies students as well as the general ASCC student population, and participants had a month to compose their entries. SSI faculty judged the resulting eight submissions using a rubric that was also distributed in advance to all of those competing.
Over the coming weeks, all of the stories submitted for the competition will be shared with the general public on the radio show “Fa’asamoa Pea,” which airs every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. on 92.1 FM KSBS. The SSI has developed the show over the past three years as a way of both educating and entertaining the listening audience while promoting the proper use of spoken and written Samoan.
Director Fauolo-Manila expressed pride in the students who submitted their original compositions for the writing contest, and said the SSI plans to make competition an annual event. “We even hope to eventually organize the competition so that the public can also participate,” she said. “Part of what keeps a culture alive is the sharing through creative mediums like writing, and we know there is a reservoir of talent within our community that a competition like this would provide a means of expression for.”
During the award ceremony for the writing competition, the SSI also took the opportunity to recognize ASCC Acting President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato, who was in attendance, for her support of the Student Association for Faasamoa and the SSI as a whole. The SSI presented Dr. Pato with an original artwork consisting of a traditional Samoan weapon embedded on a siapo foundation. The Acting President also presented the three winners with their awards.