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Palau Community College (PCC) held its 52nd Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 29, 2015. A total of ninety-two (92) graduates received degrees in the following programs: agricultural science, early childhood education, elementary education, environmental/marine science, liberal arts, library & information services, nursing career ladder, business accounting, business administration, information technology, office administration, tourism & hospitality: food & beverages, tourism & hospitality: hotel operations, tourism & hospitality: tour services, automotive mechanics technology, construction technology, electrical technology, general electronics technology, and small engine & outboard marine technology. Completing their Public Health Nursing Program under the Fiji National University were seventeen (17) registered nurses from Palau. Also commemorated were nine (9) graduates who completed the Palau Community College Adult High School Program.
Commencement officiators included Ibedul Yutaka M. Gibbons, Honorable Ninth President of the Republic of Palau Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., Pastor Marcellus Ngiraingas from the Palau Evangelical Church, Masa-Aki N. Emesiochl (Chairperson of the PCC Board of Trustees), Republic of Palau Minister of State Billy G. Kuartei (also the Vice Chairperson of the PCC Board of Trustees), Tmodrang M. Ishim (Student Trustee of the PCC Board of Trustees), Jemmy Belelai (Member of the PCC Board of Trustees), PCC President Dr. Patrick U. Tellei, PCC Dean of Continuing Education Willy Wally, and PCC Dean of Academic Affairs Robert Ramarui.
The ceremony opened with the processional song and a rendition of the Palau National Anthem by the PCC Music Club. Pastor Ngiraingas followed with the invocation. PCC President Dr. Tellei gave the welcoming remarks. He extended his welcome to all the honored guests which included United States of America Ambassador to Palau Amy J. Hyatt, Republic of China Ambassador to Palau Harry H. J. Tseng, Japan Ambassador to Palau Kazuhiro Tajiri, and other high officials.
This year’s commencement speaker was the Honorable Ninth President of the Republic of Palau Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. President Remengesau congratulated the students on completing their educational endeavors at Palau Community College. He emphasized on three points in his speech: reinvention of self, holding true to one’s values, and helping others. President Remengesau encouraged the graduates to be open to change, especially change that leads to self-improvement. He also advised the graduates to be true to their values whether personal values or cultural values. It is our values, he emphasized, that provide us with a compass for the future. He concluded his speech by advising the graduates to be of use to their communities. The knowledge and skills that they have obtained while attending Palau Community College can help improve the future of their islands.
The valedictory address was given by Ms. Keisha V. Willis. Ms. Willis advised her fellow graduates to embrace failure. It is through failure that true knowledge is attained and being afraid to fail will only hinder progress. She congratulated all the graduates on completing their journey at Palau Community College and encouraged them all to try even if failure seems inevitable.
In honor of the nurses completing the Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health, a group from the Fiji National University was also present at the ceremony. The group included Fiji National University Chancellor Iqbal Janif, Fiji National University Head of School – Nursing Kavekini Nadiri, and Fiji National University Registrar Sarita Harris. The nursing program is made possible through the collaborative efforts of Fiji National University, the Palau Ministry of Health, and Palau Community College. It provides an opportunity for registered nurses in Palau to pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health Nursing through the Fiji National University. This was the first group of nurses to complete the program in Palau and the first attempt by Fiji National University to provide a collaborative learning program with another institution in the Pacific region.
During the ceremony, Palau Community College provided a list of recommended wages for the vocational program graduates who have received the following certificates: Certificate of Competence ($4.50), Certificate of Completion ($5.50), Certificate of Mastery – Associate of Applied Science Degree ($6.50), and Certificate of Mastery – Associate of Science Degree ($7.50). The following graduates were recipients of the Certificate of Mastery for various vocational programs: Eden K. Muna (Automotive Mechanics Technology), Thorne Siksei (Automotive Mechanics Technology), Mackvayne Joshua (Construction Technology), Iolani O. Kyota (Construction Technology), Lenin L. Louis (Electrical Technology), Jasmere S. Oilouch (General Electronics Technology), and Gunther M. Joseph (Small Engine & Outboard Marine Technology).
Under the Republic of Palau Public Law: The Skilled Palauan Workforce Act (RPPL 9-22), businesses that hire Palauan citizens who have completed programs in a vocational field will be eligible for a tax incentive. The law makes an amendment to the tax code so that businesses who hire Palauan citizens with a vocational certificate may double the amount of salary claimed to be deducted before the Gross Revenue Tax is applied to the business. As a result, if a business were to employ a Palauan citizen at five thousand dollars per quarter ($5,000/quarter), then the business could claim ten thousand dollars per quarter ($10,000/quarter) to be deducted from the Gross Revenue to be taxed.
The Micronesian Occupational College/Palau Community College Alumni Association also presented awards to the graduates for the best grade point average (GPA) and best effort. The Best GPA Award was presented to Ewing Rudimch, Lolani O. Kyota, Celeste Sumor, Yumi Asanuma, Happy Y. Fritz, Lenin L. Louis, Jasmere S. Oilouch, Kaiulani D. Takeo, Halora Paulus, Vanessa E. Espangel, Melvira K. Kazuma, Gunter M. Joseph, Rhea B. Remasech, and Endira N. Apsalom. The Best Effort Award was presented to Ramon W. Fukuichi, Lolani O. Kyota, Emadech D. Oiterong, Kelutel Yoshiwo, Lenin L. Louis, Knox O. Tkel, Percilla M. Paul, and Frida Ramarui.
The following twelve (12) graduates were members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society – Beta Zeta Chapter: Happy Y. Fritz, Sidney Roberts, Antoni K. Soalablai, Sharnnel D. Sumang, Keisha V. Willis, Percilla M. Paul, Darla J. Babauta, Joanny E. Kesolei, Ewing Rudimch, Melvira K. Kazuma, Iolani O. Kyota, and Jasmere S. Oilouch. Receiving the Outstanding Citizenship Award was Ewing Rudimch. The Outstanding Student Award was presented to Keisha V. Willis, Sharnnel D. Sumang, Vanessa E. Espangel, Ewing Rudimch, Happy Y. Fritz, Lolani O. Kyota, Melvira K. Kazuma, Antoni D. Soalablai, Halora Paulus, Siomi Masayoshi, Kaia B. Sasao, Jasmere S. Oilouch, and Cecilia Olikong.
The commencement exercises ended with the recognition of the students and closing remarks from PCC Board of Trustees Chairperson Masa-Aki N. Emesiochl.
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