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Raphael Nicolas Silao and Tusikaiva Silao

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It’s taken Raphael Nicolas Silao four years of catching two buses every day to Faasao Marist High School to graduate. He’s one of the proud 76 graduates of the Class of 2023 that received a diploma during the commencement ceremony held at the Fata-o-Aiga Hall, on the grounds of the Holy Family Cathedral in Ottoville.

In a way, Raphael is a true proponent of “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” -Napoleon Hill, the theme for his graduating class.

His mother, Tusikaiva Silao said, that her biggest worry was that her son would give up in his first year, second year, third and then fourth year — so that’s been four years of constant prayers for her son.

And, this is the first time she has had the experience of being a proud mother to a graduated child, adding her older son was staying with her father’s family, and she wasn’t around for his graduation.

She told Samoa News that she worked hard to pay for the school fees every month, and to make sure Raphael had bus fare and extra for lunch. 

The mother is originally from Faleu Manono, Upolu and her son was born here making things easier for him as a U.S. National.

She praises her son’s daily routine, saying after school, he comes home, “My son doesn’t hang out with others.

“He is a member of the Youth group in Pago Pago, attends the Church Choir, he often goes to the Pastor’s house.”

 The loving mother says, “It’s not easy anymore to control our children now-a-days, but she is very grateful and thankful to God that her son has completed his high school years and it’s now up to him to decide on what he wants in life.”

She’s not sure how much the fees would be for the ASCC, compare to the fees she paid for her son, at Faasao, it was $162 dollars a month.

The mother mentioned that Silao is “18 years old and having girls in the same classroom with boys … [and] her son gets along well with girls, just like home where he respects his sisters.”

Congratulations to Raphael — may the many buses he will take on his life’s journey lead to success and happiness!