CCPI graduates give back to Federated States of Micronesia communities
Chuuk has been previously called many names—officially and unofficially. It was previously named Truk until 1990, and labeled as the Imperial Japan’s “Gibraltar of the Pacific” and even the Pearl Harbor of the Japanese during World War II. But today, the tiny island of just 49 square miles—smaller than Haleakala National Park—is known as one of the four states that comprises the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM); the others being Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap.
Chuuk is also where Chaminade University entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Caroline College and Pastoral Institute (CCPI) in Weno. Since 2010, Chaminade has played an outsized role in educating not only Chuukese, but also island residents in the five different regions within Chuuk State—Northern Nomwoneas, Southern Nomwoneas, Faichuuk, Mortlocks and Northwest.
In his opening remarks during the CCPI Commencement Ceremony, Chaminade Provost and Senior Vice President, Lance Askildson, Ph.D., told the graduates that this moment is a recognition of both their success in completing their college degree, and an important inflection point in their lives and the future possibilities that are now available to them.
“Now is the time to reflect upon not only how far you have come, but why you began this important journey in the first place,” Askildson remarked. “Your degree means more opportunity and independence; more career and professional advancement possibilities; greater financial autonomy and self-determination; and the potential for new responsibility and leadership in both your professional and civic lives.”
In total, 11 students earned their Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (BAEEO) and 49 graduated with their Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts (AALA) this year. It’s a noteworthy achievement, given some of the obstacles that students have had to overcome.
“Many of our students lack the necessary technology or internet access to participate and complete their courses,” said LJ Rayphand, Dean of Outreach Education at CCPI. “CCPI and Chaminade provide the technology and the physical spaces that our students can access and participate in their courses.
“Even though these are online courses, a distance course facilitator is assigned to each of the classes to provide additional support to both students and instructors,” Rayphand added. “Evening transportation is also provided to afternoon/evening students who reside outside of town.”
Chaminade’s support of CCPI for the past 13 years has helped, not only increase the number of individuals with college degrees, but also produce knowledge and skillful individuals who contribute to the local economy. Most of the graduates now work with the Chuuk State Department of Education as classroom teachers, specialists and program coordinators. And a good number of them have been hired in health-related fields, social services, finance, legal services and, of course, the private sector, like United Airlines.
“As a developing state or nation, these new graduates have a lot to offer to their community, the state of Chuuk and to FSM as a whole,” Rayphand said. “They will fill job opportunities that will make a huge difference in our community. Many of them work on the frontlines in areas that matter most to our people and our places in Micronesia.”
In his closing remarks, Askildson shared a quote from the personal journal of American poet and environmental writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once wrote, “The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means to an education.”
“What Emerson meant was that a true education is not (only) what you learn with us, it’s what you learn about yourselves and take with you to embark upon a lifetime of learning and growth thereafter,” Askildson said. “That is the legacy that we gift to you today … and one that will continue your human journey to greater insights and contributions far into the future. In you, we invest our great hope and aspirations for your success and a better future for us all!”