A man who lived to inspire

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

This is truly a sad day for Samoa, especially for the education sector. 

It is when the country – including Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi – will bid farewell to one of Samoa’s favourite teachers.

Pat Buckley has been lauded by many as an outstanding and inspirational teacher who went beyond the call of duty in ensuring that his students grasp and understand what they have been taught. 

Former students have taken to social media to express their gratitude to a man who taught them more than science subjects.

Mr. Buckley devoted his life to teaching. 

In a story published on yesterday’s front page, that career saw him teaching primary, secondary and tertiary students in New Zealand and Samoa. 

In his earlier days, he moved around from St. Joseph’s, Samoa, Auckland’s St. Pauls College and on to Avondale College. 

He left the Brothers in 1970 and after a further 14 years at Birkdale College on Auckland’s North Shore and a short stint at Epsom Girls Grammar School, he returned to Samoa in 1989. 

Following that, he spent most of more than 20 years at the National University of Samoa apart from a few years at Samoa College, Samoa Primary School, Robert Louis Stevenson Primary School and Fa’atuatua Christian College. 

In an interview as a nominee for ‘Person of the Decade’ in 2011, Pat said: “I’ve taught thousands; too numerous to mention, some might be offended if I leave them out. Yes I did teach the (present) Prime Minister that may or may not be a good thing,” he said with a straight face.

Today, Mr. Buckely is sorely missed.

And while he is no longer around, the essence of who he was as a teacher lives on in every student that had the privilege of sitting under his tutelage. 

Therein lies one of life’s greatest lessons.

 And that is, if you invest your life in others, you have lived it well. Teaching allows you to do that, but only if you truly do care about the people you are teaching and want to effect positive changes in their lives. 

When you inspire others to become better than where they are now, you have had a positive impact on that person’s life.

But being an inspiration is no easy feat.

It takes commitment, courage and dedication. Three traits that many who knew Mr. Buckley attribute to him, and explain why he did what he did for the length of time that he did. 

He taught, believing that that was his calling and he stuck to it for life. 

And that’s a lesson for us too. 

With so many things ‘out there’ to tempt and tantalize our senses, it can be an uphill battle to stay true to a cause you believe in. 

At a time when we are in dire need of leaders who inspire through not just word but deed, Mr. Buckley’s legacy that he leaves behind is much the same as his attitude when he was alive. 

Teach and inspire to bring about positive change. 

Students and teachers alike should take inspiration from this man who gave so much to so many. 

May God bless his grieving family and encourage them during this difficult time.

And may more teachers like him, and many others who are diligently carrying on this noble profession, rise up to fulfill their calling. 

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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