My home village is Aunu’u island off the southeastern shore of Tutuila in American Sāmoa.Department:
Institute for Teacher Education, Territorial Teacher Training Assistance Program (TTTAP)Degree:
BEd in Elementary and Special Education (ESEE)
Where do you work?
I work at A.P. Lutali Elementary School
How did you become interested in the field of special education?
I have been serving special education children for more than ten years, but it has not been an easy task without special education training or a background knowledge in teaching children with various disabilities. I needed the knowledge and skills, and our children needed the support. In the summer of 2015, they officially started the first SPED Cohort in American Sāmoa, and I took on the opportunity.
Briefly describe your road to college.
I attended American Sāmoa community college, completing courses in liberal arts in 2007 and then enrolled at UHM COE in 2015.
Why did you select the UHM COE?
I have heard good things from my co-workers about the programs, and it was also a plus for me because the university was offering special education courses.
What does the TTTAP* program mean to you?
TTTAP provides great opportunities for teachers to gain knowledge and experience, but it is also very family-oriented and passionate about serving the children of American Sāmoa.
Is there anyone in particular who has inspired you along the way?
My husband, Volaki Fouvale. We embrace and support each other’s goals. I did set a goal to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and continue on to a master’s degree. He has supported me through the four years in the program. He has been the mother figure in the home watching and caring for our two daughters, Grace and Celestial, as I took night classes to complete the program. I live on an island that requires boat transportation every night, and some nights I won’t be able to travel home due to rough seas. These nights, I sleep over with family while my husband tends to our family needs.
What are your plans post-graduation?
I will be attending the COE PACMED program starting fall 2019.
*TTTAP is a COE Institute for Teacher Education program for students in American Sāmoa, offering Bachelor of Education (BEd) degrees for in-service elementary teachers in two areas – the Dual Preparation in Elementary and Special Education (ESEE) program and the Dual Preparation in Elementary and Early Childhood Education (EECE) program.