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Arts Instructor Reggie Meredith Wins ASCC Teacher of the Year Award
ASCC Press Release
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
Tuesday, May 24, 2005

During the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Spring 2005 graduation ceremony this past Friday, President Dr. Adele Satele-Galea’i announced this year’s winner of the college’s Teacher of the Year Award, distinguished artist and veteran ASCC faulty member, Regina “Reggie” Meredith of Leone. Meredith’s award comes after years of tireless effort on her part to nurture a quality visual arts program at ASCC. Besides teaching classes in various forms of the visual arts, Meredith also organizes a yearly Student Art Exhibition and takes on special projects in collaboration with her students, such as creating the colorful stage settings that enhanced the college’s recent production of “The Wiz.”

Meredith gives credit to her parents, the late Pastor Atualevao Heinrich Anthony “Kong” Meredith, of Fagatogo, and Eleanor Regina Pena Meredith of San Diego, for raising her in an environment that encouraged creativity and self-expression. “My mom always had us busy beside her, doing something creative or constructive when we were kids. She is an avid seamstress and homemaker. Dad was an awesome ukulele, steel guitar and guitar player, and our home was never without sweet sounds. Dad serenaded us daily with songs like ‘Sleepy Lagoon or ‘Star Dust.’ I really miss him.”

Her father served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of Chief Petty Officer before retiring in 1971. In 1982 the senior Meredith was ordained as a minister, and served the Lord until his untimely passing in 2003. Alongside Reggie and her parents, the Meredith household included two sisters, Mary and Moana, both of whom now live in Pennsylvania and work in the field of education, and a brother, William Anthony, a former Latin Dance champion, now retired, who still teaches dance and judges contests in New York City. Born in San Diego, Meredith first attended school at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary in Hawaii. Her inclination towards the visual arts manifested itself early on. “When I was a second grader, I drew a buffalo on a green piece of paper for Social Studies,” she recalls, “and I knew that day I wanted to become an artist.”

At the conclusion of his Navy service in 1971, Mr. Meredith moved the family back to American Samoa. Reggie continued her schooling at Fia Iloa Elementary School, and later graduated from Leone High School, fifth in her class, in 1978. A government scholarship enabled her to enter Washington & Jefferson College, in Washington, PA, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art/Art Education in 1982. Returning home, Meredith began her teaching career with a two-year stint at Samoana High School, before she opted to continue college at San Diego State University, where she completed a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing in 1988. Back home again, Meredith spent a year with the Arts in Education program, until a vacancy for an Art instructor opened up at ASCC. Now in her 16th year with the college, Meredith has lost none of her initial enthusiasm for teaching. “Over the years, I’ve seen the Department of the Arts grow, and I’m continuously impressed with the caliber of talent we have in our young people, not just in the visual arts, but in the performing side as well,” she says. “I love teaching and sharing in the knowledge of the arts because the field continues to modify itself and not become stagnant, which I find exciting.”

Out of the classroom, Reggie stays active with personal projects. She frequently works on siapo with “Aunties” Marilyn Walker and Adeline Jones (daughters of the late siapo master Mary Pritchard), and the new Centennial Building in Utulei has a mosaic created by Meredith that spans its three-story exterior. When not involved in art projects, Meredith likes to unwind by paddling an outrigger canoe, a sport she has pursued since 1993. “It’s hard work, but there’s something incredible about being out in the open ocean with a crew of dedicated paddlers. While you’re paddling, it’s strenuous and you think it’s crazy, but it really keeps one fit.” She also sings for her church, Manumalo Baptist, and last but not least, she likes to bake. “My specialties are apple and lemon pies, blueberry crumble, and pineapple upside down cake,” she says.

Reflecting on her Teacher of the Year Award, Meredith praises her co-workers at ASCC for providing a venue friendly to the arts. “I want to thank my colleagues at the college, especially the administrators, because it’s sincerely a pleasure working with all of them,” she says. “I also want my past and present students to know that I’m deeply touched and humbled by this honor. I hope to continue serving the students and our community with a passion for the arts. And lastly, I thank our God and Savior for His love.”