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Two FHS alumni speak of their Faasao experiences

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two of the four Faasao High School alumni pictured offer their thoughts about being educated at the Catholic high school, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in the Territory in a 5-day commemoration filled with ‘reflection’ activity, such as a parade, fun motorcade, cluster mascots, floats and fellowship.

The proud graduate of Faasao High School Class of 1981, Mrs Otila Ema Migi (front left) says her Class was the fifth Graduation Ceremony held at Faasao High School  since its inception in 1973.  And until now, she can’t thank her teachers enough for who she is today. 

“I’m thankful for the Nuns that educated us.”

 Ms Otila was traditionally raised where caring for the elderly was a priority, which was a reason why she went straight into looking after her grandparents following the graduation. They were living at Nua and Seetaga and also Lotofaga in Upolu.

“ After my graduation I had to look after my grandparents at Nua and Seetaga and Lotofaga in Upolu.”

 She believes blessings are from the elderly. Following the passing of her grandparents, she scored a job at the police station in American Samoa, 30 years ago,   

“I’m grateful for my Faasao High school education, which contributed a lot in getting me a job and I believe it’s also a blessing from my caring mission.”

The 1981 graduate of Faasao High School is still working in the Payroll, Personnel and Finance division in the Department of Public Safety.

Aolele Mauga Sialo’i To’ilolo (front right) was one of the 500 students that sat the Faasao High School entry exam some 50 years ago. From that time she still remembers the motivational slogan she repeatedly heard, “the Best 40, top 40 would take the seats. “

Ms Aolele started schooling from St Francis at Lepua, then to Faasao High School during those days you had to take an exam, where the best 40, top 40 would take the seats.

“It’s up to 500 interested students to take the exam for only 40 seats, and I was one of them. I graduated in 1981, then went to Maryland for further studies. At the time my brother the late Malaetasi was working in Washington, but later we came back to care of our parents.”

Her first local job was for Telecommunication, and a few years later she moved on to the LBJ Hospital Medicare division for several years, in addition she went back to school and graduated with a teaching degree.

“I was a teacher for 34 years, at Pavaiai Elementary and retired in 2019.”

Mrs To’ilolo is retired but not tired of working. She and her husband serve as Catholic Deacon in Faleniu, "Iesu le Agaalofa."

“Looking back in the days, I’d never thought I’d be serving the Lord. The Nuns who were teachers then, were tolerant with troublemakers. However in return we received physical discipline (sasa ma ku’i pakua).

“That was part of being educated as well then, in our minds. The Nuns had to put us through detentions, like uprooting puncture vines (vao fefe) and and cow feeds (vao povi).

“We never told our parents about the Nuns disciplinary actions against us because parents would add on physically as well.”

Nevertheless she accepted the treatment then, which taught her to become who she is today she says.  

“Now I am serving the Lord, and my times at Faasao High School remain my guidelines all along.

“I’m from Pago Pago, Fagasa, Fagatogo and Masefau.

“We serve the Lord and praise him daily."