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Honor Society for English composition and literature students established at ASCC

Officers and some members of the ASCC chapter of Sigma Delta Kappa,

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), a collegiate honor society for students of English at two-year institutions, has become part of campus life at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC). Nationwide, Sigma Kappa Delta has 141 chapters with an average undergraduate membership of 2,500 annually. The ASCC chapter of SKD, named Alpha Eta, got underway in May 2021, and held its first induction ceremony for new members in early December, welcoming eight ASCC students into its ranks.

Chapter advisor Mrs. Ruth Tauiliili-Mahuka, an instructor with the ASCC Language & Literature Department took the initiative to start the SKD chapter at the college as a means of finding a wider audience for her student writers. “Writing is such a social process that if students know they are not just writing for an instructor and at times their peers, but potentially for a wider audience, it gives their compositions more purpose,” she explained. “With this in mind, I researched avenues for students to get published to a wider audience. In March 2021, I heard back from the national Sigma Kappa Delta headquarters regarding us submitting a student publication, which we happened to have already in draft stage, our literary magazine Pacific Voices.  SKD invited us to enter Pacific Voices in its annual national competition for literary magazines and journals. The next step was to charter an SKD chapter at ASCC, and with the support of President Dr. Pato, by May we had officially started one.”

The founding members of the SKD chapter at ASCC comprised the group of students working with Tauiliili-Mahuka on the first volume of Pacific Voices, and who also met the honor society’s entry requirements. SKD rules stipulate that members must be currently enrolled in a two-year college and have completed a minimum of one college course (excluding developmental courses) in English language or literature, with a grade of no less than a "B" in English and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in general scholarship. They must have completed at least one semester or two quarters of college course work for a cumulative total of twelve semester hours.

Members of the ASCC chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta, an honor society for students of English composition and literature, with their advisor Ruth Tauiliili-Mahuka (far right), prepare for their first induction ceremony. [photo: J. Kneubuhl]

Among the benefits of membership, the SKD offers chapter awards as well as individual awards and scholarships. In addition to promoting an interest in English literature and language, the SKD aims to foster literacy, promote exemplary character, and to at all times exhibit high standards of academic excellence.

With the ASCC chapter of SKD established, Mrs. Tauiliili-Mahuka described its planned activities and long-term goals. “We plan on carrying out community service activities that promote reading and an interest in literature,” she said, “and to make an annual contribution to the SKD national project, which this year is the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. At the moment, our biggest project is the drafting and publishing of Volumes I and II of Pacific Voices, a literary journal of poetry, prose and art. We also plan to carry community projects with local high schools and English instructors to promote reading and the creation of student publications to showcase original writing.”

At the ASCC-SKD’s first induction ceremony, the honor society welcomed new members Ayjah Leo, Cherinalei Tilau Simanu, Deliah Samarra Va’itaua Paopao, Evis Takubala, Janella Maribelle Musuni, Luciano Fuataga, Mareko Solofa, MJ Mauola Jr. Metuli, Neli Laulu and Tavui Toatelegese II.

Other members include Talofa Fe’a (President), Osana Laulu (Treasurer), Mareko Solofa (Historian) and Cailyn L. Ponausuia (Marshall); inducted members, Ayjah Leo serves as Vice President and Neli Laulu is the chapter’s Secretary.

Anyone seeking further information on the ASCC chapter of the Sigma Kappa Delta, or who would like to inquire about their Pacific Voices publication, is welcome to contact their advisor by email at Full details on the nationwide honor society can be found on its website at