Samoa College’s brightest student for 2016, Tauatua Taioalo, has dedicated her success to her father, former Police Commissioner, the late Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo.
The 16-year-old is the youngest and the only girl of Lilomaiava and Suititi Fou Taioalo’s seven children. With roots in the villages of Lalomanu, Matatufu and Magiagi, the Science student wants to become a Surgeon.
Among the many awards she won during yesterday’s prize giving, she also won the Samoa Observer Award for Excellence in Writing.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Tauatua said one of the biggest challenges faced this year was coping with the sudden passing of her father.
“He was my number one supporter in everything especially in education,” she said.
“It was at that time when everything seemed meaningless. I felt depressed and deprived of the will to do anything but I wasn’t the only one to go through this there were my brothers and especially my mother.
“However there was always God and honestly He has been there during every step of my journey with the help of my mother, my brothers and of course my friends.”
But she has survived the hardship to come out on top.
“I’m so happy and I know my dad would be too,” she said.
“But God is so amazing and He always will be so all glory goes back to Him.”
During her speech yesterday, she adviced everyone to put God first and everything will fall into place.
“My advice to the students in the junior and upcoming senior classes of Samoa College, put God first in all the things you do and anything is possible,” said Tauatua.
“To the graduating class of 2016, Graduation is one of those steps that define a new chapter in life.
“It’s the ending of one era and moving on to the next (hopefully a more successful one)
“We are gathered to applaud your achievements and hard work all throughout the year.
“Your commitment, dedication and personal strive has contributed to your success and I therefore congratulate you all for your achievements throughout this academic year.”
She also acknowledges the support of her family, friends and especially her mother and brothers.
“I’d like to thank my spiritual parents Rev. Letupu and Helen for everything and all the prayers you’ve done for me and my friends,” she said.
“I’d also like to thank my mom Suititi Taioalo for being an amazing parent and to all my brothers.
“This year had been one long roller coaster ride for it has been both thrilling and frightening but at least I spent it with the people whom I call my friends.”
She went on to remind everyone that there will be challenging times but it will all depend on them.
“There will be exhilarating and challenging times but they will be dependent on you and your determination,” Tauatua said.
“You will experience the highs and the lows in life, the difficult and the easy and unfortunately there may be times of too many difficulties and just not enough smooth sailing.
“As you move to a new stage of life, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose but make sure you steer yourself in the right direction.
“True and real success will be defined by how you handle both of these times.”