Samoa’s young writers awarded for work in Samoa Observer competition

21 September 2017, 12:00AM

Lauryn Elisapeta Soti, of Samoa College is the winner of the Year 13 English section, of the Samoa Observer’s Schools Short Story competition. 

Her story about climate change was among more than 650 entries from Upolu and Savai’i for the 2017 competition.

Posolo Uga, of Itu o Tane, won the Samoan Year 13 competition. 

They were among the winners congratulated during the prize giving held at S.S.A.B’s Conference room yesterday.

The annual competition has been run by the Samoa Observer since 2011 with huge support from sponsors, Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B) who have been with the competition from the very start as a major sponsor, while Eveni joined the Samoa Observer and S.S.A.B. in 2016.

The idea for the competition came from the Editor-in-Chief, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa and grew out of the ‘Newspapers in Education’ feature of the Monday edition.

 “While the Observer powers the competition, we are fortunate to be aligned with two companies which strongly support youth and schools and see this competition as a way to highlight literacy and the education system,” said N.I.E Coordinator, Marj Moore.

“The competition has categories for stories in Samoan and English and entries are accepted from Years 6 through to Years 13. One of the aims of the competition is to get everyone writing, so the high numbers are important.

“And amongst those many entries, are brilliant stories from outstanding writers at all levels who we want to encourage and foster.”

This year it was very encouraging to see many entries and winners from Savai’i and it was evident from a massive block of yellow and green that students from Don Bosco dominated in numbers at the prize giving.

Don Bosco Principal, Father Mosese accompanied the 13 students early yesterday morning noting that it was a very exciting excursion for them and that they were very proud of their students. 

Don Bosco is a relatively new school and it has been open for just seven years now. Speaking to the Samoa Observer Father Mosese said, “We had nine students who placed last year and this year we had 13 which is a good sign of improvement from our students. I was happy to hear what Fiti and Mata’afa said, “don’t give up” because it matches with the philosophy of our school and thats what we teach our students. 

The only way forward for our Samoa of today is - don’t sit back and just keep going. It’s true our teachers work hard to encourage the students’ writing but thats our philosophy in Savai’i which is “we keep on” we don’t win but it will come. But this time we came first in two categories, I am so happy”

 “You know Upolu is much different, I was a principal in Upolu for 12 years. But I saw Savai’i needs a little push and a pickup for the kids just to stir up their enthusiasm. Nowadays you encourage them in story writing and it helps them with their English and their imagination. The punch line is just do it with enthusiasm and blessings will come after it.” 

In terms of the overall quality of the entries, Ms. Moore said it was important to take note of the comments from judges Professor Silafau Sina Vaai, Papalii Momoe Malietoa, Julie Perelini, Fiona Collins Toalepai and Asolelei Toalepai.

Notwithstanding the individual excellence of the place getters, the judges said many entries in both languages showed students do not write regularly. 

There is also evidence in their writing that many of them do not read widely, nor are they required to be original and think creatively. The judges spoke of the tendency of many students to simply write to an essay formula by starting with a quote or proverb and following with several paragraphs rather than exciting the reader with an interesting hook at the beginning of the story.  

Ms. Moore said that the topic, centred around Climate Change, drew both fiction and nonfiction accounts.

“Some of the students had done a lot of research which is great and they submitted more of an essay while others wove a story around characters and particular issues.  “It is a credit to the students, teachers, parents and the many environmental organizations which have got the message out about this important topic and for the children to play a part in the discussion, of the problems and solutions.”

Moore said it should also be noted that this topic is one that many children are directly affected by in their everyday lives and they write with personal insights into the experiences they have had and are having.



Year 6 Samoan

3rd Fuatai Salani, Samoa Primary

2nd Vaasa Mulinuu, Samoa Primary

1st Anamaria Falepau, Nofoali’i Primary

Year 6 English

3rd Mahina Warren, Vaiala Beach School

2nd Ruta Leota, Samoa Primary

1st Maselina Hazelman, St Mary’s Primary


Year 7 Samoan

3rd Paul Sua Paulo, Samoa Primary

2nd Tamana Tanielu, Samoa Primary

1st Sainte Kolio, Vaimoso Primary

Year 7 English

3rd Sommer Lemisio, Robert Louis Stevenson 

2nd Kathryn Tualaulelei, Samoa Primary

1st Rosa Meredith, Vaiala Beach School


Year 8 Samoan

3rd Malua Fidow, Asaga Primary

2nd Brendan Siliva, Lalomalava Primary

1st Anzarae Anzac, Lalomalava Primary

Year 8 English

3rd Rosemary Sulifoa, St Theresa’s, Fusi

2nd Alexia Slaven, Vaiala Beach School

1st Apaula Tafea, Vaiala Beach School


Year 9 Samoan

3rd Monika Musika, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Gloria Gaugau, Don Bosco, Savaii

1st Oecussi Fatialofa, Aoga Fa’amasani Amosa

Year 9 English

3rd Christina Sefo, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Angel Reti, Robert Louis Stevenson School

1st Lupe Va’ai, St Mary’s College


Year 10 Samoan 

3rd Penani, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Ita Kasiano St Mary’s College

1st Gerri Tuifalesa, Don Bosco, Savaii

Year 10 English

3rd Malnnie Nofoagatotoa, St Mary’s College

2nd Sosoli Tupou, St Mary’s College

1st Vitolio Tiatia, Aoga Fa’amasani Amosa


Year 11 Samoan

3rd Afele Ameto, Itu o Tane College

2nd Merenaite Ropati, Mata ae vave College

1st Pitapola Ioane, Aoga Fa’amasani Amosa

Year 11 English

3rd Torise Tavita, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Jason Candelario, Don Bosco, Savaii

1st Nive Lui, Don Bosco, Savaii


Year 12 Samoan

3rd Nive Niko, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Keresoma Paul, Don Bosco, Savaii 

1st Togisala Sauni Aana No 2 College

Year 12 English

3rd Laki Nafoi, Itu o Tane College

2nd Alica Faulualo, Don Bosco, Savaii

1st Quenjule Slaven, St Mary’s College


Year 13 Samoan

3rd Peato Makalio, Don Bosco, Savaii

2nd Sooautalavou Faatuiese, Itu o Tane College

1st Posolo Uga, Itu o Tane College

Year 13 English

3rd Sitivi Sooaemalelagi, Samoa College, 

2nd Maraiakalala Ugapo, Don Bosco Savaii

1st Lauryn Elisapeta Soti, Samoa College


Most Samoan entries 

Itu o Tane College


Most English entries

Vaiala Beach School.

21 September 2017, 12:00AM

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