Out of the twenty recipients of the Samoa Stationery and Books Scholarship awards at the prize giving on Friday, four were also awarded scholarships by the Samoan government to further their studies at a university overseas.
The recipients were Joycemariella Toafa, Charles Salevao, Laila Stanley and Ronellah Taiatu Mose.
They spoke to the Sunday Samoan about their aspirations after pursuing higher education.
Demonstrating her diligence in maintaining high academic standards throughout her secondary education was Joycemariella.
In addition to her achievements this year, Joycemariella was also the inaugural recipient of S.S.A.B.’s award in 2015 when it was first established.
“It’s a privilege and I’m very grateful especially receiving the help from S.S.A.B.,” she said. “It’s been an amazing ride to be able to walk ahead and know that S.S.A.B. is right behind everything that I do."
“They always try to highlight these programmes of giving back to the community because they think education can not only boost the economy of Samoa, but it can help in so many other ways like with our health system and the public sectors. That’s why S.S.A.B. is so supportive of education here in Samoa.”
Joycemariella will be heading to Monash University in Australia where she intends to study a Bachelor of Commerce and Information technology hoping that it will lead to a career as an economist.
Showing an early understanding of what a successful enterprise looks like she added: “I think that’s part of their success because every business is supposed to be about profit, but at the same time S.S.A.B. is very passionate about the community, so they don’t just care about the profit, they also have that heart about giving back to our community.”
Charles will head to colder temperatures when he heads to Otago University to study medicine.
“I will be studying medicine at Otago University,” said Charles.
“Ever since I was young, I dreamt to become a doctor because you get to save lives and help people in need and mainly because there is no other doctor in my family, so I’ll become the first.
It means a lot to me to get this award and in my family, we’ve always been talking about getting scholarships so it feels so amazing and I feel so honoured because not only did I get one from the government, but also from S.S.A.B. and I’ll do my best.”
Laila was deeply grateful to be a recipient of both awards having not expected it.
“I will be doing economics and management at Auckland University. I’m just going to look for a job afterwards and help my family out. I feel blessed and honoured to get this award and I just want to say thank you to Fiti and S.S.A.B. management for this award, I really didn’t expect it.”
It was a point of pride for C.E.O. Fiti Leung Wai that two recipients were S.S.A.B. scholars. Joining Joycemariella was Ronellah who will head to Fiji to attend U.S.P.
“I’m going to be studying at U.S.P. in Fiji and hopefully I’ll be studying software and accounting. I’m very passionate about computers as well as money and I’m excited to study those fields. I’ll come back to Samoa and work for a few years because of the bond I have with the government and then move to New Zealand or Australia.”
Ronellah also expressed her gratitude for S.S.A.B. and in particular their C.E.O. for their patronage over the years towards her education journey.
“Fiti is a very great role model because I started at S.S.A.B. as a very negative person and a student. Fiti made me see the light in everything; she’s helped me a lot."
“It feels like a blessing from heaven, it’s amazing. Work hard and be yourself and also put God first because he is the only one to take you anywhere.”