From around the country, over 50 students with their parents, teachers and some principals, gathered at the National University of Samoa fale yesterday.
The occasion was the 5th annual prize giving of the Samoa Observer’s national story writing competition and a special year for several reasons.
“Well being the fifth year is something of a milestone,” said the Samoa Observer’s Coordinator of Newspaper in Education (N.I.E), Marj Moore.
“And this year, in addition to our long term sponsors, S.S.A.B. who have been with us from the start, Eveni has joined in as a sponsor while Bluesky has continued their sponsorship by donating a selection of special prizes.
“The merits of the competition and promotion of youth education have also been acknowledged by the Chinese Embassy with Ambassador Wang funding two trips to China for former competition winners,” said Moore.
“Ariel Fana’afi Ioane who is in her Foundation Year and Layton Sailimalo Lolo who attends Pesega College, will travel to China with a group of 10 N.U.S. students today.”
“We are also very grateful to the Vice Chancellor of N.U.S. Professor Leapai Asofou So’o who has shown his support for this literary initiative by allowing us to use the beautiful Samoan fale.”
Moore said that with the development of the competition, they had outgrown venues previously used.
The event was emceed by Editor, Mata’afa Keni Lesa with renowned poet and faifeau, Reverend Ruperake Petaia offering the blessing.
Samoa Observer’s Editor in Chief, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa delivered the Keynote Addressbefore the acknowledgement of the five judges, Professor Silafau Sina Va’ai, Papalii Momoe Malietoa von Reiche, Mrs Anne Leauga, Mrs Julie Perelini and Mrs Donna Ioane.
Mrs Fiti Leung Wai of S.S.A,B. spoke on behalf of the sponsors.
This was followed by the presentation of individual prizes and school prizes for Vaimoso Primary and Itu o Tane College who sent in the most entries in English and Samoan.
Open to students from Year 6 through to tertiary level, the topic for the 2016 competition was ‘”My World: as it is or how I would like it to be.”
Moore said the writers had really embraced the year’s theme.
“Possibly because it gave them two options,” she said.
“They could write factually about their world as it really is, or if they wanted to dream a little or make predictions, they could shape a world to the way they would like it to be.”
Many of the stories are disarmingly frank and Moore believes that readers will take away fresh perspectives from the stories.
“Some of the descriptive sections would not be out of place in tourist brochures,” she said. “Others tell of a not so idyllic life while others still are a blueprint for how a future Samoan society could be.”
However Moore stressed that the competition does not take the place of the teaching of writingand a strong reading programme every day in the classrooms of all the schools in Samoa.
“For the standards to improve in English and Samoan literacy levels, students, parents, teachers, M.E.S.C. and the community must play their parts.”
Meanwhile, the response from the students to the opportunity to share their thoughts on paper in either English or Samoan, continues to grow.
“Each year, we have new writers and new schools taking part,” she said.
“This year for instance, we have had entries from Don Bosco in Savai’i and in their first year, some of their students are among our prize winners.”
In fact the number of entries from Savai’i in general is now equal to those from Upolu, she said.
“This is really pleasing and as part of their sponsorship of the competition, S.S.A.B. has helped to make this work by having entry forms available at their Savai’i outlet, delivering entries to Apia and assisting winners with their ferry and bus fares to ensure they attend the prizegiving.”
Moore said the original competition was an initiative by the Editor-in-Chief, Gatoaitele.
“He saw it as a natural progression from the weekly Newspapers in Education feature and an opportunity to give young people a voice from our community.”
This year, there have been close to 600 entries and it is expected that this number will continue to grow in the years to come.
Samoa Observer Competition prize winners
Year 6 English
3rd Annabella McInnes Vaiala Beach Primary
2nd Hildaguard Paniani St Mary’s Primary
1st Felisha Va’a Vaiola Primary
3rd Roluama Aloaina Tutaga Primary
2nd Petelo Tamaso’alii Vaimoso Primary
1st Karis Toleafoa St Theresa’s, Fusi
Year 7 English
3rd Ceira Kennedy Vaiala Beach Primary
2nd Katrina Esera Apia Primary
1st Alexandria Slaven Vaiala Beach Primary
3rd Kolini Malolua St Mary’s Primary
2nd Leonard Lasalo Tutaga Primary
1st Taupaolo To’o Tutaga Primary
Year 8 English
3rd Ryanne Tupai Vaimoso Primary
2nd Analei Pelesasa Vaiala Beach Primary
1st Amelia Southgate Peni Vaiala Beach Primary
3rd Sione Wayne Lalomalava Primary
2nd Dollysarai Meu Tutaga Primary
1st Meafou Faalavelave Safotulafai Primary
Year 9 English
3rd Ronette Va’ai St Mary’s College
2nd Selenia Thompson St Mary’s College
1st Malnnie Nofoagatotoa St Mary’s College
3rd Norma Siaki Itu o Tane College
2nd Martha Semau Itu o Tane College
1st Jane Ederman Itu o Tane College
Year 10 English
3rd Delphine Silao St Mary’s College
2nd Lesina Poisiano Don Bosco College
1st Quenjule Slaven St Mary’s College
3rd Ioane Uga Itu o Tane College
2nd Urima Tavee Don Bosco College
1st Gordon Magele Pesega College
Year 11 English
3rd Alice Iaulualo Don Bosco College
2nd Tafao Tafao Itu o Tane College
1st Ripine Viliamu Don Bosco College
3rd Asalemo Faatau Itu o Tane College
2nd Fineaso Saio Itu o Tane College
1st Lagi Sagato Itu o Tane College
Year 12 English
3rd Angela Hazelman St Mary’s College
2nd Joe Alefosio Don Bosco
1st Jorim-Paul Phillips Fa’atuatua College
3rd Matalena Tevaga Don Bosco College
2nd Debra Leuo Faleata College
1st So’oautalavou Faatuiese Itu o Tane College
Year 13 English
3rd Fionamaria Sapatu St Mary’s
2nd Alexia Slaven St Mary’s
1st Larissa Tago Leifi’ifi College
3rd Vaeluaga Vaipuna Don Bosco College
2nd Failava Asovale Itu o Tane College
1st Jacinta Ameto Itu o Tane College
3rd Lina Schwalger NUS
2nd Gataiala Penn NUS
1st Mercy Tausili NUS
3rd Pelenato Penei Don Bosco College
2nd Peato Auva’a Don Bosco College
1st Peniel Magele NUS
MOST ENTRIES ENGLISH – Vaimoso Primary School
MOST ENTRIES SAMOAN – Itu o Tane College
BLUESKY SPECIAL PRIZES
Primary School - Year 8 English - Amelia Pene
Year 8 Samoan - Meafou Faalaveave
Highly Recommended - Felisha Va’a (Year 6)
Secondary School - Year 10 English - Quenjule Slaven
Year 10 Samoan - Gordon Magele
Year 11 English - Ripine Vilamu
Year 11 Samoan - Lagi Sagato
Year 12 English - Jorim-Paul Phillips
Year 12 Samoan - So’oautalavou Faatuiese
School Prizes Vaimoso Primary Broadband Connections Itu o Tane College Broadband Connections
ADDITIONAL PRIZES - Acknowledgement of two trips to China
funded by the Chinese Embassy – Ambassador Wang
Ariel Fana’afi Ioane – Foundation, National University of Samoa
Layton Sailimalo – Year 13, Pesega College