Faasao Marist High School graduates 76 Cougars & Crusaders
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On Saturday, June 3, 2023, the Faasao Marist High School — home of the Cougars and Crusaders — held their 2023 Commencement ceremony at the Fatu-O-Aiga Hall located on the grounds of the Holy Family Cathedral in Ottoville. A total of 76 graduates turned their tassels on Saturday in the 2-hour ceremony that was presided over by the newly consecrated bishop, the Most Rev. Bishop Kolio T. Etuale, Monsignor Viane Etuale.
Vice Principal, Tanuvasa Leiato Fausia was the Master of the Ceremonies and special guests included Lt. Gov. Talauega E. V. Ale, Congresswoman Uifaatali Aumua Amata, and Sen. Fai’ivae Alex Godinet, Mrs. Danielle King and Andra Samoa.
Talauega delivered the graduation address, while the keynote speaker was Dr. Robin Faumuina-Vasa.
The Chair of the ASG Scholarship, Sen. Fai’ivae presented the ASG Scholarship awards, and Mrs. Danielle King presented the Christopher King Scholarship, in honor of her husband, the late ‘Chris’ King, Port director and graduate of Marist High School, who passed away suddenly last year.
The E tasi ae afe Chapter 2023 award was presented by FMHS Principal, Dr. Lina Galea’i Scanlan.
The Class of 2023 theme was: “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” -Napoleon Hill.
The Faasao Marist High School Class of 2023 graduates numbered 76 at their Commencement ceremony held at the Fatu-O-Aiga Hall located on the grounds of the Holy Family Cathedral in Ottoville. [photo: AT]
Top honors of the class of 2023 went to Heleina Maria Lucille Willis, as the Valedictorian. She is the daughter of Roy Willis and Jeanette L. Alvarez, the Director of Catholic Education in American Samoa.
Ms Willis received four scholarships to pursue a higher education — the Saint Martin University Chancellor's Scholarship for $104,000; the University of Denver Chancellor Scholar award for $30,000; University of Portland Archbishop Christe Scholarship for $128,000; and the University of Portland Catholic High School Success Award for $20,000. However, Willis, who is 17 years old, has decided to begin her pursuit of a career locally — at the American Samoa Community College.
She wishes to become a corporate lawyer and help her parents in their businesses.
Ms Willis was also the recipient of the Scholastic Excellence Award 2023. She shared honors with others for the National Honor Society “E tasi ae afe Chapter” Community Service Award with 499 hours 2023, and the Top SAT, 1000 or better Award with a 1,040 SAT score.
In an interview with Samoa News, Ms Willis said her aim has always been to be at the top of her class.
“I have a strong support system, thanks to my family and friends for their support over the years,” she said.
Heleine Maria Lucille Willis, Valedictorian of Faasao Marist High School Class of 2023 with her mother Ms Jeanette L Alvarez. [photo: AT]
Her journey however was not without challenges. “Looking back in the beginning I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, and that had to change to achieve my goals and eventually everything fell into place.”
Ms Willis said her parents were not surprised she surpassed all the challenges she faced in high school, as she was a determined student. “It was something I promised them and I made changes to ensure I fulfill that and when I received the notification letter of my educational achievements, I did it,” she told Samoa News.
The FMHS Salutatorian for the class of 2023 is Lelei Aigaevalumalietoa M. Fuiava. She was also awarded the Andra Samoa Award and received the Top SAT, 1000 or better Award with a 1080 SAT score.
Ms Fuiava dedicated her achievement to everyone who supported her throughout her educational journey in the last 12 years. Lelei was Salutatorian in Elementary back in 2019 at St Theresa.
She wants to study to become a pharmacist, and will be attending the American Samoa Community College for the next two years to begin her journey.