Open letter to the Class of 1981 Reunion,

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My first ever teaching placement was at Leififi Intermediate School in 1976. I was assigned to Form 2 C2, a class of 36, with the challenge of preparing them for Senior Secondary School the following year.

I must admit to initially being quite intimidated upon warnings that this particular class would be extremely difficult to teach.

However, instead I found myself pleasantly surprised to meet a group of diligent hard workers who persevered through every class despite the forbiddance of speaking Samoan in school. 

It would be this endurance that would later see the top Maths and Gagana Samoa students, in the Form 2 National Exams, emerge from this class of underestimated potential. 

As a teacher, it is sufficient ‘reward’ to see my students succeed and enjoy the career paths they have chosen; whether it has been in esteemed positions as physician-specialists, I.T. specialists, C.E.O.’s, business managers, school principals, church ministers, and a Cabinet minister to name a few. Also of equal importance is every success achieved away from the corporate world; in sport, in families, and in general contributions to the community in many other ways – I applaud you all.

On June 7th 2016, in celebration of the Class of 1981 Reunion, I was presented a plaque of appreciation by Penny Alama, Oketevi Tanuvasa, and Ailaoa Hunkin as representatives of this class.

This extremely unexpected gesture, in the presence of my husband and children (in my own home!), was exceptionally overwhelming and I was deeply moved.

This emotional tribute was affirmation as a teacher that my lessons had not been in vain and furthermore, that they were not only remembered but continued to be appreciated many years later.

As teachers, we strive to make a difference in your lives and guide you to unlock your potential as anything you are willing to work towards. I cannot adequately describe how honoured and humbled I am by your recognition of this.

Words fail me, but from the bottom of my heart I wish to say thank you, Class of 1981. Thank you for acknowledging our work as teachers. Thank you for appreciating your teachers. Thank you and may God continue His blessings upon you all. 

Fa’afetai lava,

Miss Ioane 1976-1977.

Letelemalanuola Tuitama.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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