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Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA — Friday the 13th of May, 2022 was a lucky day for a daughter of American Samoa when Liaina Hunkin Claytor joined 17,000 other graduates on the University of Southern California (USC) campus in Los Angeles. Friday's graduation ceremonies were a happy return to normal as the USC marching band played the special Commencement Ceremony music.
Ms. Claytor is the daughter of the late Tau and Teri Hunkin of Vailoa. She received her Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) on that day, and graduated Cum Laude with a 4.0 GPA.
As one of ten graduates asked to address the crowd in their native languages Lia spoke in Samoan, adding a greeting to her Tongan, Fijian, Tahitian and Hawaiian classmates in their languages as well. Her husband Mario, their six children, her proud momma, aunties and friends looked on.
The Samoan cheering (faaumu) could be heard throughout the public squares as she spoke. Congratulations to Lia, an alumni of Leone High School and University of Hawaii—and to all the USC graduates of May 2022.