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ASCC Holding 80th Commencement Ceremony This Friday

The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will hold its 80th Commencement Ceremony this Friday, May 17th, at the Kanana Fou Gymnasium, beginning at 10 a.m. As is traditional, the College invites the families and friends of the prospective graduates to join in this special occasion, which will also be attended by dignitaries from the public and private sectors. 82 ASCC students will receive their degrees and certificates, joined by a number of candidates from off-island colleges and universities who will also receive their credentials.

At each Commencement Ceremony, the College invites a distinguished member of the community to give a Keynote Speech to inspire the graduates as they embark on the next phase of their lives, and for the spring 2024 ceremony ASCC is proud to welcome Dr. Salote Aoelua- Fanene, the Director of the Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs (DYWA). From the villages of Afonotele and Fituta, Manuatele, Dr. Aoelua-Fanene is a proud mother of five children and two grandchildren. In addition to an extensive record of public service, she has simultaneously had a long history of battling cancer, first in the case of her mother, and next when she herself was diagnosed with the disease.

For 20 years, Dr. Aoelua-Fanene’s mother battled cancer before sadly passing from the disease. Dr. Aoelua-Fanene stated that her mother “never allowed cancer to overcome her own personal duties as a mother. So, I learned from her that you can have a sickness and you can still live life to its fullest.” A few years ago, Dr. Aoelua-Fanene herself was diagnosed with cancer. After the experience of taking care of her mother, she knew how to take care of herself and take preventative measures in order to live the same way her mother lived. Having survived the diagnosis, Dr. Aoelua-Fanene is now a strong advocate for implementing preventative measures in self-care. She said, “I love research and collecting data. I find it is one of the best ways for us to make decisions and to provide information to our leaders, who are the decision makers on different types of policies, laws, and on implementing different programs to help our people.”

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In addition to her role as DYWA Director, Dr. Aoelua-Fanene maintains extensive community involvement, including serving as Co-Chair for the Comprehensive Substance Abuse Council Committee, a member of the American Samoa Statistical Council, a Stakeholder in Special Education, a member of the Mental Health Partnership, and a Music Specialist with the Pago West Stake. Dr. Aoelua-Fanene is the co-author of the published study Research Capacity Strengthening in American Samoa: Fa'avaeina le Fa'atelega o le Tomai Sailiili i Amerika Samoa. She holds an Ed. D. degree in Organizational Leadership, and has served in the US Navy as a Cryptologic Technician

“Dr. Fanene has such a diverse background of service to the people of American Samoa that we greatly look forward to her sharing her experience and insights,” said ASCC Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i. For more information on the Commencement Ceremony, contact ASCC at 699-2722 and ask for the Division of Student Services.

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