The University of the South Pacific (U.S.P) celebrated a historical achievement yesterday with the awarding three gold medals to outstanding students in the Science Teachers Accelerated Program (S.T.A.P).
The recipients are Fatutolo Tuisuga Outstanding Graduate majoring in Mathematics, Tioata Leleimalefaga, Most Outstanding Graduate Majoring in Biology and Selina Okali Most Outstanding Graduate majoring in Agriculture.
S.T.A.P. is a special programme designed for in-service teachers who have Diploma or Certificate level qualifications.
The programme then builds their science background by providing a specific number of courses in a combination of delivery modes including a significant amount of intensive face-to-face teaching.
Mr. Leleimalefaga shared his painstaking journey.
“When I heard that Science teachers had the opportunity to upgrade from our diploma of education to a Bachelor of Science, I thought, it s about time for me to get a degree because I only had a diploma in education.
“Getting back to studying was very difficult but God has been good.
“It was very intense, I almost gave up after my first year.
“I went home at 11 o clock at night after doing lectures and tutorials and said to my wife and son, “I give up! I’m quitting!”
But his son motivated him.
“He said to me, you’re a loser Daddy, you’re a quitter.”
That changed his mind. And the rest is history.
“I wanted to set a very good example for my son. Not just hat, I need to help my country to become a better science teacher.”
Associate Professor Dr. Bibhya Sharma hailed the achievements of the medallists as well as the success of the programme.
“This is the first ever time three gold medals from U.S.P have travelled together to Samoa. This is a first for our Alafua Campus,” he said.
“To the awardees you have made your families, communities, and university and Samoa proud of your achievements. You have shown you are best in the university and the region.”