To improve literacy levels throughout the two Samoas, the Samoa Observer has teamed up with S.S.A.B Pago and Eveni Carruthers for an English/Samoan writing competition — not only in Samoa but also in the territory.
While it’s the first time for this contest in American Samoa, this will be the fifth year for Samoa. The competition started back in 2011 on Upolu only and had 150 entries from primary and secondary schools with Bluesky and S.S.A.B as sponsors.
The next year, at the suggestion of the sponsors, it was extended to include a third level and Savaii schools. The entries immediately doubled. Each year a theme is named for the contest and in 2013 the entries almost doubled again to over 570 with the theme, Change.
According to Samoa Observer’s Newspaper in Education Coordinator, Marj Moore, in 2014, despite the staging of an international conference which changed the school terms, entries increased again to 770 with the theme, Heroes and Heroines.
This year, Moore stated they’ve implemented bigger and better changes as they expand the competition to American Samoa with a new sponsor on both islands, Eveni Pacific. She explained that there are individual prizes awarded as well as school prizes for the school that has the most entries in the competition.
She said in Samoa, many stories are published in the Samoa Observer following the competition and some winners have twice appeared on regional literacy panels as speakers – the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language (S.P.A.C.L.A.L.S) discussing their writing. She further pointed out that three of the winners are now regular youth columnists in the Samoa Observer.
She said their goal is to improve literacy levels throughout the two Samoas and to encourage all the children to write, read and speak in Samoan and, or English.
While in American Samoa, Moore along with managers from S.S.A.B, Princess Auva’a and Eveni’s, Margaret Carruthers, visited public and private schools last week spreading the word about the competition. Ms. Moore said the competition in the territory would be held through from February 17 – May 6. The entry forms are available from S.S.A.B and Eveni outlets, and the outlets will also be a collection point for entries.
S.S.A.B Pago’s Marketing Manager Princess Auva’a told Samoa News they are super excited to sponsor this event as their president and owner Fiti Leung Wai is so keen on education as seen from the products sold at their S.S.A.B Pago Store, which are mainly educational.
Margaret Carruthers of Eveni told Samoa News that this is one way for Eveni to encourage youngsters in the territory to get the most out of their education.