Tis the season of prizegivings

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

It’s that time of the year again. We simply cannot escape it.

Jubilant scenes at end of year prize givings held across the country – whether it’s a pre-school, primary, college or university - are a wonderful reminder about an age-old saying, that it takes an entire village to raise a child, or a graduate for that matter.

Indeed, from pre-schoolers to tertiary students who are graduating with Masters, we celebrate like there’s no tomorrow. And why not? We believe that for every child who has achieved something, he/she represents a journey that would’ve required them to overcome many barriers. 

It goes without saying that success doesn’t just fall from the sky. It requires sacrifice, tears, sweat, plenty of dedication and a lot more hard work. 

That’s why success is sweet. And everyone who has tasted it already – or will be tasting it in the coming days – deserve it.

But there is more than that of course. For every student out there, think of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and the entire family unit that’s behind them. 

Think of the prayers from pastors, church members and the tapuaiga from the villages. It takes an entire village to raise a child. Which also explains why prizegivings are occasions to behold on these shores. They speak of us being a people of “the we” rather than “the me.” One child will have many supporters from parents, siblings, aunties, uncles, church friends and sometimes entire villages. The flowers of Samoa will have a sad time over the next few weeks as the ula makers go for broke to satisfy the huge demand out there today. 

Our readers would have noticed that during the past couple of weeks, your newspaper has been filled with photos and stories of several prizegivings. To our regular readers, they understand why. 

But some people, especially if they are new to this country, might ask why so much space is dedicated to these prize givings. They would probably think it’s strange for a national newspaper to do this.

Well the answer is quite simple. In the words of Arthur Miller, “a good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.” And right now in Apia, the mood of the nation is swinging towards the festive season, with the season of prize giving heralding the arrival of Christmas and the New Year.

You only had to drive through Apia yesterday to know how many prizegivings there were. There was Robert Louis Stevenson High School, Pesega College, Wesley College and many more held across the country. 

This will continue throughout the week as most schools wind down for 2016.

It’s a privilege to be part of these festivities. At this time of the year, this is also a time where your newspaper is often asked by proud parents and relatives about the cost to have their sons and daughters photos published - and posted on our online edition at www.samoaobserver.ws.

The simple answer is we do not charge. That’s correct, we don’t charge parents to publish the photos of their sons and daughters – unless they insist on putting out an advertisement, which they are welcome to do. 

The problem is that we’ve only got so many reporters and they cannot be everywhere at the same time. And let’s not forget that prize givings are not the only ‘newsworthy’ events happening in Samoa today. There are many other important occasions to cover happening at the same time.

Without a doubt, we would love to publish photos from every school in Samoa – and those of our sons and daughters graduating from elsewhere outside Samoa.

But we cannot guarantee that we will be able to get to your school.

The good news is that with the advent of technology where digital cameras and the internet are widely available, if we are not able to get to your school, you are more than welcome to send in your photos, captions and details about your prize giving.

And when you do, please be patient if it’s not published right away. As you can appreciate, there is quite a backlog, especially with multiple prize givings happening on the same day. But let me assure you that we endeavour to publish photos from all these prizegivings over the coming days and weeks – just give us some time.

The same applies for office gatherings and end of year functions. 

Again, we would be happy to publish photos and details from your function. 

But if we cannot get to it, we invite you to send photos, captions and information to observer.news1978@gmail.com and copy lesa.keni@gmail.com.

And one last thing, we prefer high resolution images if you want your photo to come out looking the best. Images from mobile phones are not the sharpest – unless you have the latest phone available.

On that note, we want to congratulate all the prize winners during the past weeks and the upcoming days. As for those who did not do so well, don’t give up, keep trying; there is always next year. 

Have a wonderful Thursday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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