“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The scripture from Philippians 4:13 was the theme of Reverend Elder Palemia Tauiliili Reupena’s sermon during a special gathering yesterday.
Held at the National University’s Samoan Fale, the event hosted by the government was to congratulate the scholarship recipients from N.U.S and also to wish them the very best for their new journey.
Rev. Palemia reminded the students that as they set sails on their new journey, it is a must for them to always rely on the Lord. He warned that there will be challenges and obstacles along the way, but they can do anything if they lean on God.
“Use this opportunity wisely. A lot of students vied for these opportunities so don’t waste it. We will always follow you with our prayers and support.”
For this year, 66 students have been awarded with scholarships to further their studies in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. And the N.U.S Fale was crowded by all the students with their parents and relatives to celebrate the special occasion.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi addressed the audiences talking about the importance of the gathering. Firstly, he congratulated the scholarship recipients for this year.
“You have reaped what you have sown and no doubt that you are rightly feeling that every sacrifice has been worth it,” Tuilaepa said.
However Tuilaepa reminded them that this is not the end of their journey.
“This is just beginning of your journey to fulfill all your dreams.”
He encouraged the students to never give up when the going gets tough.
Tuilaepa added that the occasion was also an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the scholarship scheme and its noteworthy contribution to education in Samoa. He thanked the governments of New Zealand and Australia for their continuous support in providing funding and scholarship opportunities for Samoan students.
“They have not only provided tertiary educational opportunities for the N.U.S Foundation students, but also for those who work in private and public sectors through the open category scheme. This particular scheme targets those who have been in the work force for a minimum of two years and are keen for the opportunity,” he said.
He also extended his gratitude to the Commonwealth Secretariat, World Health Organisation, Japan and China for also providing bilateral scholarships and trainings for the people of Samoa.
Turning to the parents, Tuilaepa encouraged them to continue on doing their part of supporting and encouraging their children to do their best.
Lastly, he gave the students his well wishes for their next journey.
“Give your studies your utmost and undivided commitment. Your scholarship is a privilege so use the opportunity wisely in order to be successful, both in your studies and in your personal life.
“You will leave the comfort and security of your family’s surroundings and be exposed to different environments with countless distractions.
“Remember that you are also ambassadors for Samoa, go with the knowledge that what you do now and how you carry yourself, will reflect on your family and country. Always remember and be proud of who you are, where you come from, and that you are sons and daughters of Samoa.”
Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford said Australia provides around A$4.5 million each year for scholarships in Samoa.
“This is our commitment to supporting you, the students on your educational journey and the future of Samoa,” she said.
“Under the Australian Aid Programme, education is a key priority. Having a well-educated workforce and enabling young Samoans such as the students who are here today to obtain tertiary and technical qualifications, will contribute to the future economic and social development of Samoa.
“This is a great achievement. You are all indeed a source of great pride for your families and for your country. Make most of these opportunities.”
Mike Walsh, the Acting High Commissioner of New Zealand, also congratulated the students.
“This is a result of your hard work and commitment,” he said.
“And it is our hope that by investing in your higher education, we are not only investing in you, but also in the Samoa social and economic development.
“We expect that you will continue to apply the same determination and hard work that has got you this far wherever you will be studying.
“The first few months to the universities you will study will be tough, and it will take time to adjust to the new learning environments and different cultures. Take time to engage with others and to meet new people from the country you will be studying in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; lots of questions.
“We wish you the very best with your studies.”