Believe in your dreams, says Daniel

Daniel Lualua is the Dux of the St. Joseph's College in 2018. The eldest son of Alofafaiu Lualua and late Faimalo Lualua, his grandmother Kapenteta Toomata Aki did not hold back her tears, as she made her way down the isle at the college hall on Friday to place a candy lei on him.

“I have seen Daniel strive hard to make us proud. All thanks and glory to God for his never ending guidance throughout his education as well as our family,” she said.

The hall was packed with students, staff and families and friends when the names of the top performers in the 2018 academic year were read out.

But Daniel’s journey was a challenge as his father passed on in 2011, leaving him and his siblings with their mother Alofafaiu, who was assisted by her parents Kapeneta and Toomatai Aki to raise her children. 

Daniel’s grand parents are devout Roman Catholics, whose background Alofafaiu credits for creating a good environment for her son to excel. Her family supported her son’s education and encouraged him to do his best.

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“He has always made us proud and I know within our hearts his father is too,” Alofafaiu said.

Following his acceptance of his dux award, he was invited to give a speech at the graduation ceremony and he shared a story on a fisherman, and how he kept fish that could fit his frying pan and threw the rest back to the sea.

“Excuse me sir, you seem to be very lucky catching so many fish today… but I was wondering why are you letting the big fish go back to the water, and just keeping the catch of the smaller fish?”

The fisherman then replied: “Well it’s very simple, he said ‘you see here I have my measure, so I know the correct size of my catch.  This measurement I have is the exact size of my frying pan. If the fish are bigger than my pan, I let them go, if they are smaller or the exact size I keep them.”

Daniel compared the story to reality and said some people have big dreams—and there are times when dreams become too big or impossible to achieve—so people abandon them and settle for less.

“If you have a big dream, follow it. Never let yourself or anyone tell you that it is impossible. Believe in yourself and follow your passion, follow your dream. But most of all follow your heart,” he said. 

Daniel will continue his studies at the National University of Samoa next year. 

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