Samoa Observer Short Story Competition inspires Savai'i college to start its own

The popular Samoa Observer Short Story Competition has inspired a local college to start its own writing competition for students.

A senior English teacher from Don Bosco College in Salelologa Savai'i, Mulipola Mose Tuafoe, says he was inspired to start an internal writing contest after students from the College received prizes from the Samoa Observer Short Story competition 2019 prize-giving ceremony last Thursday.

He represented his college at the Samoa Observer Short Story Competition prize-giving ceremony in Apia where they won six prizes.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, he said: “Due to the remarkable results from the writing competition, it has led to me thinking of running our own internal writing competition throughout all levels in our school, to further develop the writing skills of students so they can have better and successful futures, so we will not stop here.”

The Samoa Observer Short Story Competition is the brainchild of the newspaper's Editor-in-Chief, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa, who was concerned that the students weren’t reading and writing enough, with the writing competition aiming to improve literacy levels throughout Samoa.

The competition encouraged students from Years 4-12 and Year 13/Foundation to write stories in English or Samoan around the theme ‘Once upon a time… or O le Tala Lenei…’.

In the Year 9 Samoan category, Saofaiga Alofipo from Don Bosco College claimed first place whereas in Year 11, the college locked in the first, second and third places in the Samoa division with Agaalofa Simi, Falaniko Tevaga and Ilia Luamanu. 

Iosefo Alaalatoa from the college came second overall in the Samoan division for Year 12 while Nuufou Bertha Alofagia from Year 13 took third place in the English category for Year 13/Foundation.

Mr. Alaalatoa was overwhelmed when he was awarded a prize for a short story he wrote titled “Olaga o Samoa (The life in Samoa) which depicts how the youths today have changed immensely.”

Mr. Tuafoe was very thankful and thrilled with the results that the students of their school received.

“In fact we were only told on Wednesday about winning prizes and so had to prepare to travel on the early boat Thursday morning to attend the ceremony. 

“I did not expect it to be this way but it’s quite unfortunate that there were changes in the day of our athletics that most of our students could not attend the ceremony to claim their own prizes but the principal and staff is very proud of them.

“We see there is an improvement in the literacy and numeracy within the school in Savaii because we are adding these programs like reading programmes and for them to take home and have the parents to check and sign off,” he said.

He also said that the teachers played a role in assisting the students by guiding them through explain the guidelines that the markers are expecting from the students stories.

“I worked with the English students and we did not write any stories for them, it was their hard work. We had them brainstorm their topics and explore their imaginations and I think that got them into the right track.

“We are so strict with teaching programme even if we have guests, athletics we still have classes.

“I keep telling my students that literacy is very important in their educational lives or journeys; if they cannot read then they cannot cope through other subjects,” he said.

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