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Concordia Portland's 2014 Grads Attend Samoa Ceremony

By The Room 241 Team May 28, 2014

The next generation of transformative educational leaders was honored on American Samoa in May 2014.

Before an on-site audience of 400 and a live television audience, 35 teachers in American Samoa received their master’s degrees in education from Concordia University-Portland.

The ceremony, at Lee Auditorium in Pago Pago, American Samoa, kicked off with an invocation by the Rev. Tafailematagi Muasau, former president of Kanana Fou Theological Seminary; and included special remarks by Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga. Also participating were Dr. Sheryl Reinisch, dean of the College of Education; Dr. Mark Jimenez, director of academic affairs; as well as the territory’s directors for elementary schools and high schools.

Nilla Vaiula Esau-Orekene Taofi delivered the graduate student address.

Reflections from the dean

“It was such a joy to travel to American Samoa to meet our graduates in person, spend time getting to know them, and celebrate with them on this special occasion. In just a few days, we made lifelong friends with relationships formed lasting a lifetime,” Reinisch said.

“Concordia’s mission is to ‘prepare leaders to transform society.’ Our American Samoan graduates took this to heart as the theme ‘transformative leaders of today’ was integrated throughout the ceremony. Lives are truly being transformed!”

Graduation day in American Samoa“One of our educational leadership graduates is now the vice principal of an elementary school that serves over 1,000 students. Other graduates shared that their teaching skills have significantly improved since taking courses through Concordia. Not only has the experience transformed our graduates, it is also transforming the lives of their students each and every day.”

The May 2014 ceremony was Concordia Portland’s second commencement on the island. Last year, four teachers earned their master’s degrees.

All the graduates teach in the territory’s Department of Education, which oversees 22 early childhood education centers, 22 elementary schools and six high schools.

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