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Iakina Adventist Academy sees 16 graduate

 Iakina Adventist Academy Class of 2024

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Iakina Adventist Academy graduating Class of 2024 held its Commencement Ceremony with the theme, "Strengthened to Conquer" yesterday morning at the DYWA gymnasium in Tafuna.

Unlike the usual practice where the audience rises while the graduates enter the venue in a procession, the 16 graduates were escorted to their seats by their parents or family members.

In his special remarks, Governor P.S. Mauga commented on how emotional the experience had been not only for the parents but also the graduates.

"I noticed that many parents shed tears as they escorted you to your seats," Governor Lemanu stated. "This is because today marks the end of 18 or 17 years of their responsibility as parents to take care of you. Some of the graduates also shed tears because they realized this.

"This outpouring of emotion affected many of us present here today. If we think about the challenges and sacrifices that our parents made to make sure we got the best of everything, in spite of the daily struggle to make ends meet, who wouldn't shed a tear at a time like this?

"Those tears remind us of God's love and grace because through all the trials and tribulations we face in life, He will never forsake us if we put our trust in Him. Today, God has answered your parents' prayers. You have conquered the challenges and obstacles you encountered in this part of your journey.

"Today as you stand at the edge of a new chapter in your lives, you are reminded of the profound truth that there is strength in times of adversity. Ultimately, to win, you must first find the strength to endure the pain. You need to understand and feel the importance of perseverance, the resilience in overcoming challenges.

"Adversity uniquely reveals your true character and forges you into a more robust and resilient individual. It teaches you valuable lessons about resistance, courage and the power of the human spirit. It reminds you that even at your darkest moments, there is always a glimmer of hope, the spark of resilience that refuses to be extinguished.

"Perhaps most importantly, adversity unites us as a community, brings us together, fostering bonds of friendship, support and unity that transcend differences and join us in our shared humanity. It reminds you that you are not alone in your struggles, that there is strength in unity and that you can overcome even the most significant challenges.

"As you stand at the threshold of this chapter of your lives, carry the message that you have learned from adversity in high school. Remember that whatever obstacle comes your way, you have the strength, courage and resilience to overcome it.

"Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation. Knowing that will only make you stronger. Graduates, don't forget the power of community - family, church and friends. The importance of supporting one another and the strength that comes from standing together in times of need.

"Lastly, you must muster the strength to endure in times of prosperity, maintaining your values and principles during times of success is an essential for graduates. It would be best to remain humble and grounded when experiencing success.

"Don't downgrade others. Don't put others down when you are celebrating your success. Humble yourselves, and when celebrating your success, don't forget to say thank you to all that helped you, especially our Heavenly Father.

"Today, we give thanks and glory to God for His guidance, the patience and love He gave to your parents, your families, and your teachers at Iakina Adventist Academy.

"Congratulations Iakina Academy Class of 2024! Each of you has shown immense strength in times of adversity and your achievements are testament to your resilience and courage. As you embark on this new journey in your lives, may you always remember the strength that you have found in times of adversity. May it guide you to a future filled with hope, resilience and success," Governor Lemanu concluded.

This was followed by the presentation of the graduates by the Chairman of the Governing Board of Iakina Adventist Academy, Pastor Tui Tuliatu for confirmation by the Director of SDA Education for the Trans Pacific Union Mission, Mr. Talonga Pita.

The MC then introduced the Class of 2024 Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

"The Valedictorian for Iakina Adventist Academy Class of 2024 is Moesha Siniua Metuli. She was born on November 3, 2006 and is the youngest sister out of five siblings. She is a proud member of the Satala Adventist Church and is a daughter to Spiritual Parents Pastor Pilato and Faletua Pekina Talatau.

Iakina Adventist Academy Class of 2024 Valedictorian Moesha Siniua Metuli and her proud parents after her graduation yesterday morning. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]


"She aspires to one day become a doctor focusing directly on elderly patient care, so she can be of great help to her parents and others within the community. She dedicates this achievement to her beloved home church community, especially to her grandmothers, Mama Sia and Mama Tupito.

"She is the proud daughter of Mr. Mauola Metuli of Fausaga and Tafitoala, Safata and Mrs. Iupita Metuli of Lotofaga, Safata and Saletele, Fagaloa.

"The Salutatorian is Angelina Jelani Polu. She was born on October 7, 2006. She hails from the village of Ili'ili and is a proud member of the Holy Family Cathedral at Fatuoaiga- International Community Parish. She is cared for by Spiritual Parents Deacon and Mrs. Uiagalelei.

"She plans to enroll at the American Samoa Community College before spreading her wings off-island to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology. She dedicates this achievement to her dearest parents. She is the youngest daughter to Junior and Agnes Polu.

"In her words, 'Mom and dad, your unwavering support, love and sacrifice has shaped me into the person I am today. Every achievement I've earned is a testament to your guidance and encouragement. Thank you for believing in me, cheering me on, and being my greatest inspiration. This success is as much yours as it is mine. I love you both.'"

The Valedictorian Award was provided by the Fetuiai Siologa Family while the Salutatorian Award was provided by the Ausage & Associates, Inc.

Iakina Adventist Academy Class of 2024 Salutatorian Angelina Jelani Polu with her proud parents Junior and Agnes Polu after her graduation yesterday morning. [photo: Asi A. Fa'asau]


Other Special Awards received by Class Valedictorian Moesha Siniua Metuli included the Citizenship Award provided by Home and School Association, Bible Award provided by the Tapuai Family and the Leadership Award provided by the Unutoa Family.

The Highest SAT Award provided by the Ropeti Family went to Salutatorian Angelina Jelani Polu.

The Tualauta Most Improved Award was provided by Rep. Sam Meleisea, and it went to Fa'avae Pulelua.