Academic Achievement Celebrated at ASCC Graduate Banquet
December 15, 2016
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
Several days prior to the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) graduation, the Division of Student Services hosts a Graduate Banquet, at which the members of the semester’s graduating class can enjoy a social occasion together. The banquet also provides a venue for the ASCC academic departments and the College’s student organizations to recognize outstanding academic achievement and community service.
This semester’s banquet took place on Wednesday, December 14th, at Seafood Restaurant in Tafuna with newly appointed Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Lina Galea’i-Scanlan; Dean of Academic Affairs Mrs. Letupu Moananu; Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’I; and Trades and Technology Department Director Mr. Michael Leau representing the ASCC administration. Veterans Affairs counselor Ms. Lydian Tinitali served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
Following Dr. Galea’i-Scanlan’s stirring welcoming remarks, in which she encouraged the graduates to “do whatever is necessary to get where you need to be,” the awards portion of the evening got underway with Ms. Eirenei Tesimale of Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR)/Land Grant presenting the division’s awards on behalf of Director Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta. This semester, ACNR recognized its four graduates: June Talamoni, Faatoia Areta, Ike Sagaga Jr. and Joseph Leleua.
Business Department chairperson Dr. Faofua Fa’atoafe presented this semester’s Outstanding Business Graduate award to Ms. Oina Leo, and also called on all 14 Business graduates this semester to stand and be recognized. Mrs. Rosie Ah Chee –Toeava, chairperson of the Criminal Justice Department next followed suit, recognizing all of her department’s graduates who were present and presenting the Criminal Justice Academic Excellence award to Mr. Vaimalu Maligi.
Dr. Daniel Chang, chairman of the Health and Human Services Department, was joined by his co-instructor Mr. Derek Helsham to present the department’s award for academic achievement to Ms. Alisi Tagaloa. Mr. Kuki Tuiasosopo, advisor to the ASCC Alpha Epsilon Mu chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, presented the PTK Leadership Award to Ms. Ofeira Jane Brown; the Academic Achievement Award to Ms. Oina Leo; the Fellowship Award to Ms. Vaimalu Vaiau; and the Community Service Awards to, once again, Ms. Ofeira Jane Brown. Tuiasosopo also called on Vice President Scanlan, Dean Moananu, Dean Le’i and TTD Director Leau to assist him in conferring the official PTK ceremonial sash, pendant and other items on the twelve members of the honor society graduating this semester.
Science Department Director Dr. Randel DeWees shared with the audience that the two top candidates for this semester’s Science Award were so close in their grade points that he felt it best to award both of them, and so Ms. Alisi Tagaloa as well as Ms. Ricka Mae Mallari were both recognized for their outstanding achievements. In the field of Social Sciences, department chair Mrs. Lilian Temese called Ms. Vaimalu Vaiau back to the stage to receive her second award for the evening.
On behalf of newly-appointed Teacher Education Department (TED) Director Ms. Shirley De La Rosa, faculty member Mrs. Feleni Alainu’uese presented two department awards, one to TED Associate of Arts with an emphasis in Elementary Education graduate Ms. Makatala Tanielu, and the other to Ms. Katerina Ameperosa, who has completed her TED Bachelor in Elementary Education. Trades and Technology Department (TTD) Director Mr. Leau next took the stage to confer his department’s fall 2016 award to Mr. Faafouina Fruean.
Representing the Student Government Association (SGA), Treasurer Ms. Meleane Savusa and Sophomore Representative Ms. Mary-Hail Nautu once again called upon the ASCC administration members present to assist in bestowing an official certificate, a medallion and a gift of $100 to each of the graduating SGA members: Dorothy Mana’o, Filomena F. Stowers, Joshua Kitiona Naseri, Paul Smith, Tony Salevao Olo Taua’i, Tuila’ai T. Matautia and Vaimalu Vaiao. Ms. Savusa and Ms. Nautu next presented Dean of Student Services Dr. Le’i with an elaborately carved wooden plaque as a gift of thanks from the 2016-2017 SGA members.
Dr. Le’i concluded the awards portion of the evening with her special remarks, in which she congratulated the soon-to-be graduates on their achievement, wished them a very successful future, and also reminded them to remember all of the people who have contributed to this milestone in their lives. “Student Services organizes this event as a fun way for our graduates to conclude their time at ASCC,” reflected Dr. Le’i as the evening would to a close. “Of course, the final conclusion is the graduation ceremony, but this is more of a relaxed prelude to it, where the students can not only enjoy each other’s company, but also celebrate with those who receive awards for outstanding achievement.”