Parents looked on with pride as they witnessed their children walking up to receive their certificates, marking a joyful conclusion of their education with Laumua O Punaoa Technical Center.
None were prouder than the parents of valedictorian, Emani Lolagi.
Held at the Wesley College Fale, the graduation celebration saw tears, cheers and a whole lot of dancing.
Aside from being named 2016’s Dux, Emani managed to win a number of prizes.
He was the student of the year, first place in Tech 2 overall, best in trades with his electrical engineering, first in Christian Education, first in communication and first in Samoan.
The feeling of joy was simply overwhelming for the young man.
“I really don’t know how I feel about today,” Emani told the Samoa Observer.
“I can’t explain the happiness I feel with this day. It’s one of the best days of my life and I am happy to be able to make my family proud.”
But an achievement like this did not come easy for Emani.
“I worked very hard with my studies,” he said.
“Every day after school I would study right up until late at night. I would sometimes finish studying at around two or three in the morning.
“I just want to say thank you to the Lord for this blessing upon me for this day.”
And of course, where would anyone be without their family to support them.
“I would also like to say thank you to my parents, especially my mom at Saleaumua,” Emani said.
“My family is my biggest supporters and I would like to say thank you very much to them. I dedicate this to all of my loved ones.
“This is just a very exciting day.”
Emani concluded with a small message to his fellow students.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a message to my fellow students of 2016,” he said.
“Don’t give up and keep on working. Work towards a bright future and anything is possible with the help of our Lord.”
At the end of the celebration, the music played on while students and family members danced away at the front of the venue.