By Austin Saephan

When asked, “Who are you in Hiram Johnson High school?” Tuigamala said, “The girl with the ukulele.”r

Senior Ruta Tuigamala was born and raised in American Samoa. Tuigamala is seventeen years old. She came to America in August 2009 and started her high school experience. She said, “I thought it would be fun.” Tuigamala speaks Samoan, a little Hawaiian, and a little Tongan.

Tuigamala said, “What I love about California is when I go shopping, it has discounts. I love swimming, the beach, and rugby with friends and family.”

Tuigamala said, “I miss my parents. They stay at Samoa to take care of my grandma and their store. I also miss my grandparents.”

When asked would you rather be here or back home, Tuigamala said, “Here, you get freedom for everything and Samoa there are limitations. Students don’t get beat in California.” After high school, Tuigamala will be attending Sacramento City College and is majoring music.

To make her California life experience perfect, Tuigamala said, “I would bring my dad here because he spoils me.”

Ruta enjoys the high school’s free lunch application and the freedom.

When asked to summarize all four years, good and bad she said, “In freshman year, I passed all my classes with A’s and B’s; but I was scared to meet new people.”

Tuigamala said, “In sophomore year, I had my best friend Mindy Xiong, but I had my first fight.”

Tuigamala said, “In junior year, I came out of my shell. I had my last fight and had to go to probation for six months and do some community service.”

Tuigamala said, “In my senior year, I found my girl, Lakia Young; but my parents tried to break us apart because they didn’t like that I was dating a girl.”

Tuigamala said, “I will miss Mrs. Kim and Mrs. Devereux.”

Mrs. Devereux said, “Ruta is an amazing poet and when she reads her own lyrics in class everyone would listen. Ruta may be quiet but she never backs down on anything, she doesn’t like when I call her out in class but she makes up for it.”