“Always remember, we started from the bottom”

The National University of Samoa’s top student in its Foundation Programme yesterday spoke of the importance of remembering how top achievers always started from the bottom.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer after getting the university’s foundation programme’s top student award, 17-year-old Emily Elizabeth Fruean said it was always important to remember that everyone including herself started from the bottom.

“No matter how high we rise, no matter how much we have achieved, we must always remember we started from the bottom,” she said. 

Ms. Fruean is the recipient of the Hon. Misa Telefoni Retzlaff’s Trophy (2018 top student overall in the Foundation Programme) and the SROS trophy and plaque (top overall Foundation Science student). 

She also received the Samoa Stationeries and Books Trophy for coming first in chemistry, the Latu Lawyers Trophy for topping human biology, the Business Systems Limited’s Trophy for top overall physics student, and the Late Fuimaono Folomalo Toelupe’s Memorial Trophy for top mathematics student.

The fifth child of Su’a Henry and Ruby Fruean from Siusega, Faleasiu and Motootua, the top student—in her acknowledgement speech after receiving the awards—acknowledged the help of everyone in her life including God, family and friends.  

“First and foremost, I give our utmost thanks to our heavenly father. All praise and glory be unto the most high, for his unfailing love and guidance. 

“Without his faithfulness, we would not have had the strength, willpower and knowledge to endure and persevere during the course of this year’s endeavors.

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“I thank my dear parents—Su’a Henry and Ruby Fruean—for all your unconditional love and support. I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for your prayers, wisdom, guidance and care.

“Special thanks to my spiritual parents, Rev. Kerisimasi and Viola Sani and my congregation for their kind words of encouragement and never-ending prayers,” she said. 

This year was not an easy one for Ms. Fruean, but she said she persevered, mindful that a successful career and achieving her goals in life was only possible through hard work. 

“There were difficult times but I always kept in mind that if I ever was to have a successful career, if I ever was to achieve my dreams and goals, to be the best I could, I needed to push on and keep moving forward.

“We will inevitably face downfalls, hardships and shed tears at some point but this does not define us and it definitely will not hinder us from unleashing our full potential for excellence. 

“For if you have faith in God’s guidance and commit yourselves to giving your best, only God can limit how far you go. To all my fellow students, I urge that we all have faith in ourselves and in God’s counsel. Success does not occur overnight. 

“It is a constant process of growth, self-reflection and resilience. We must be prepared to dedicate ourselves to molding our prospective careers into reality,” she added.

Humbleness can also play an important role in the journey to success, according to Ms. Fruean.

“I aim to be a surgeon because I noticed that Samoa lacks surgeons and recently doctors from China came to Samoa, I believe that a lot of our people need help. 

“I love helping and I believe that my love for science paired with my passion to help people, will make a big difference—not only for me but for everyone.

“I am currently employed as a part-time worker at Samoa Observer, while awaiting my scholarship next year, I love writing and I wanted to pursue it in Observer,” she added.

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