Let’s face it. A hundred and thirty years is a very, very long time, one during which testing challenges could have easily undone the strongest of desires and the will to persevere with a certain goal.
Which means that for anything to survive this long and remain amicably strong for such a period of time must have surely been founded on a rock solid foundation.
Such is the foundation upon which the Marist Brothers’ Education system in Samoa established. It was founded on love and the dream to nurture young Samoans to grow up to become leaders in their families, villages, churches, government and the world.
Founded in 1888, they are celebrating their 130th anniversary in Apia this weekend. They have come a long way.
Indeed from humble beginnings where they started with seven students, Marist has grown to become an institution in Samoa, a centre for excellence in education and raising standards for countless leaders of this nation in all spheres of life.
Since 1888, the Marist Education system has expanded from the Marist Brothers Primary School, Mulivai to Saint Joseph’s College at Alafua. Thousands and thousands of Samoans have benefitted from it. It’s undeniable that the education and values the Marist Brothers instilled in the pupils have contributed to the development of Samoa as a nation.
You see many of them are leaders of Samoa. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi is only one of them. The success of the alumni is multifold, there are way too many to mention in these pages.
Today, the celebration of the 130th Anniversary is being spearheaded by another proud Marist, Tuatagaloa Aumua Ming Leung Wai who is the President of M.B.O.P.A.
Speaking prior to the celebration, Tuatagaloa said the significance of the anniversary is a milestone worth celebrating because of the Brothers’ dedication to educating the boys of Samoa since 1888. He said it is also to remember the old pupils who served Samoa throughout the years.
Which is fitting of the celebration’s theme: ‘Together We Remember’.
“This is to remember and honour those who have served the Marist Schools, served our M.B.O.P.A. and also those of the Marist Fraternity who have had long and distinguished service to our government and not forgetting our country.”
On Thursday, the celebrations began with a mass at Mulivai Cathedral conducted by Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga. Students from Marist Brothers Primary School and Saint Joseph’s College made up the choir in the presence of many former students.
A number of activities are being planned. Among them is a Tree Planting activity. There is also a career day at Saint Joseph’s College Centennial Hall, Alafua where different career opportunities are offered.
Another major part of the celebration is the Marist Forum, which aims to get the members of M.B.O.P.A. around the world to discuss and formulate its strategic direction for the next three years.
The highlight of the anniversary though, will be the Marist Excellence Service Awards Ball scheduled for tonight. According to the organisers, this will be the main fundraising event for the celebrations, where proceeds will go back to the development of Marist schools.
But there is another special reason to be excited about tonight. Fifteen awards will be handed out to outstanding members of the Marist fraternity to recognize and appreciate their services not only to M.B.O.P.A. but also to the Government and people of Samoa.
Whoever the recipients are, we are sure they are worthy of the honour, just as the Marist Education System in Samoa is worthy of the admiration, praise and respect for surviving 130 years.
Congratulations to the President Tuatagaloa Ming Leung Wai and all members of the Marist family in Samoa.
Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!