Last Wednesday will always be a memorable day for a hard working Samoan student with roots in Samalae’ulu, Fai’a’ai, Apia and Leulumoega.
Charlie Viane Sofe, who is studying at the University of Canterbury, was among nine outstanding high achieving students attending various tertiary institutions throughout New Zealand who were presented with the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award.
Hosted by the Ministry of Pacific People’s, the ceremony was held at the Fale o Samoa, in Mangere, where New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, presented the awards.
The awards recognize Pacific excellence and academic leadership of the Pacific Youth undertaking studies throughout New Zealand.
Charlie, 21, is the youngest of nine children of Fualau Misiolo Sofe of Samalae’ulu and Fai’a’ai and Margaret Fruean Misiolo of Apia and Leulumoega.
He was presented the “Pacific Cooperation Foundation – International Scholar Award,” recognizing a young person who epitomizes the strong positive relationship between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands through their leadership, community service (both New Zealand and home nation) and academic performance.
Charlie’s parents were immensely proud of their son that they flew out to New Zealand to attend the awards ceremony.
Charlie during his brief speech acknowledged the grace of the Almighty for making things possible and giving him the opportunity to receive such a prestigious award. He thanked the Prime Minister of New Zealand and all the people involved in the set up of the awards ceremony and thanked the prayers and support from his families and friends in New Zealand and Samoa during his studies.
He did not shy away in thanking his proud parents for making the trip over to witness this special award. It was indeed a joyous moment for not only Charlie but for his parents and family.
His achievements were not only a product of the encouragement, determination and support from his parents and families, but also the guidance from his E.F.K.S. Apia church and the community where he grew up.
He has expressed his interest in completing his studies at the end of the year and returning to Samoa to contribute to the development of his family and country.
His long-term goal is to set up an engineering firm with his older brother who is also an engineer. Prior to getting there, he wishes to work for the government and build his network to enable him to understand more about the dynamic of the fast pace work in Samoa in the engineering field. Finally, he wishes to further his studies in Engineering and hope to be a successful engineer and continue to make his parents and family proud.
Charlie was born, raised and educated in Samoa, until he obtained a scholarship to pursue a Bachelors of Civil Engineering (Honours) at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch New Zealand. He attended Vaivase Primary School and progressed to Samoa College in 2009.
During his education in Samoa, he excelled in his studies, which culminated in his achievement of the Top Overall prize for the Foundation Programme at the National University of Samoa in 2013.
In addition to his formal education, he also attended Sunday school and a’oga Faife’au at his congregation, E.F.K.S. Apia under the guidance of Rev. Elder Utufua Naseri and Faletua Taiaopo.