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Mother, son share special graduation moment

A 58-year-old mother and her son made history last week when they graduated together from the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.).

Motiana Siaosi Su’a, who is a lecturer at the N.U.S., graduated with a certificate in adult learning from the university’s Oloamanu Centre for Professional Development and Continuing Education.

Her son, Shelvi Christian Su’a, topped his class and graduated with a diploma in sustainable agriculture after two years of studying.

Mrs. Su’a told the Samoa Observer in an interview that she was excited to have graduated with her son and described it as a remarkable experience. 

“First of all I thank God for guiding us through the challenging years of education, going back to school at this age is barely a priority in our Samoan family systems, but when you finally graduate, you will know just how important education is in our lives regardless of our age,” she said. “Second, I am doubly excited to have been announced (graduated) on television with my son for the first time.

“Shelvi has had his own dreams and goals to accomplish and I’m glad I was able to accomplish them together with him on this graduation. I’m the proudest mom today.”

Emphasising the importance of teachers continuing to upskill themselves to teach the younger generation, Mrs. Su’a said she disagreed with the perception in Samoa that discouraged older citizens from returning to school.

“It’s very important for teachers to learn how to teach to enhance the educational system of our young generations,” she said. “The lesson for our matured students is not to limit our education just because we are old, but keep striving because our world keeps moving forward, not just in our jobs, in our families and anywhere in this life.

“Our people should keep up with our education, even if we already have our jobs for a better educational background and a brighter future for our families.”

For Mr. Su’a being a youth comes with a lot of challenges, especially when they are at the university level, he said. But what kept him motivated during his two years at university was his goal to provide Samoa with a healthier and cheaper lifestyle in the future.

“I want to become a successful man in agriculture so I can provide for my country and have food security in Samoa to provide live stocks and vegetables for our own people because that’s the problem I have seen now,” he said. “We are mostly importing stuff which is the source of increasing costs because Samoan people are too lazy, and just have a thought that maybe within 10 years, I’ll help out and become a businessman in agriculture.

“Make my own business, plant my own vegetables and develop my own livestock so I can provide for supermarkets for our own citizens.”

Mr. Su’a said being able to graduate with a diploma in agriculture made it clear to him that he can also do much better. 

“I feel honoured and happy and motivated cause I’m actually starting university for bachelors and it’s motivational for me for this three years of bachelors in USP.

“I just feel like I can now do possible things and greater things in the future with my bachelor degree from this diploma level that’s why I’m super excited.”

But his path to graduation last week has not been without its challenges with one of them being his registration fee, which he was not able to pay.

Looking back on his academic journey, Mr. Su’a credited his parents Motiana and Andrew Su’a, Michael Ekueni, Thor Peters, Kaisu Aisake, Kiloi, Millie (friends) and his girlfriend Sina Meleina Foma’i. 

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