Fa'atuatua College Head Girl wins Samoa Observer Schools Short Story competition

Tupulua Pelenato; the Head Girl of Fa'atuatua Christian College at Vaitele, is the winner of the 9th Samoa Observer Schools Short Story Competition.

The Year 13 student was congratulated by the British High Commissioner, David Ward, who presented her with her prizes during the competition's prize giving held at S.S.A.B's conference room at Togafu'afu'a, on Friday. 

The theme of this year's competition was "COVID-19," where the students were encouraged to write a real or an imaginary story about their experiences.

Tupulua won the year 13 English Short Story Category with a story she says is "basically a slice of her life". 

Her story is based on the few weeks where schools were alternating between days which she felt was very different when she had to go to school by herself instead of going with her sister.

She described in her story how as a leader of her school, she was responsible for separating the students and ensuring that they kept a distance as advised by the government in the state of emergency orders or else their school would have to be shut down. 

"This was when schools had first opened up again and it was when the government was really hesitant," she added

"In the story, I had a conversation with my science class. There are only 4 of us because it’s a really small school.

"And in the conversation, we were talking and complaining and whining amongst ourselves about the lack of events that will be in our year especially since there were lockdown and restrictions.

"We were really bummed out about it in our story and then I proceed to go back home, I catch the bus, I see the market and it’s really empty and most of the story I’m in my thoughts and I was letting the people know how I felt and how sad I was but then I was also happy about it at not being in crowded places."

Tupulua has entered a few other short story competitions where she says she usually comes either third or would get a consolation prize. 

"So today I just came for the food really," she laughed

"And maybe a consolation prize. They called my grandparents and my grandfather was saying things but usually I don’t believe much of what he says because you know grandfathers they exaggerate and so I was hesitant to believe things, but Praise God! I came here and it’s all good."

Writing and reading are a few of her favourite hobbies but being raised in Samoa, Tupulua said that they're not really being given the mindset that writing and telling stories would put food on the table. 

"So I took Science thinking that there are a lot of opportunities in the field but I reckon I’ll publish a story or two if I get lucky and blessed for extra money but I don’t think it will be like the main career," she said 

"Right now, I just want to get a good job. A stable job to help mum and dad out with their scholarship. My parents aren’t working, they’re in Malua actually, so everyone in my family is in school.

"My dad’s a freelance artist, so he’s landing jobs and that’s how we’re paying our dues right now. So I just want to get out of school real quick and help with the bills."

The competition also saw a number of Savaii entries and winners and one of the categories that the Savai'i entrants took home was the year 9 English category which Mataua Sue from Itu o Tane won. 

Mataua's family owns a business in Savai'i and she wrote about how the restrictions of the state of emergency affected their family business. 

"The reason I wrote my short story in English is because my family owns a business in Savaii and when COVID-19 broke out in the overseas country, our government closed down businesses and then there were no tourists coming into Samoa," she said 

This was her very first time entering into such a competition which she feels very happy about and had thanked her school and parents for pushing her to participate. 

Amongst the very proud students and parents were Laufou Alofipo Manase who is the principal of the Itu o Tane College. 

He was very proud of the outcome of the competition where five of his students won prizes from different categories. 

"This is the usual every year; we missed out last year because I was away in New Zealand during the competition which was why we didn’t participate," he added

"We have our own literacy and numeracy program and it’s where we heavily encourage the students to participate in such competitions.

"We encourage them to use their creative thinking so they can write their own stories and come up with great ideas."

This year marks the 9th short story competition organised by the Samoa Observer with the aim to improve literacy levels throughout Samoan school.

The English/ Samoa writing competition came about from Editor in Chief of the Samoa Observer, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa who was concerned that students weren't thinking, reading and writing enough. 

He wanted to see young people reading for enjoyment and writing freely about their thoughts, ideas and opinions. 

The panel of judges for this year's competition were Silafau Professor Sina Va'ai, Papali'i Momoe Malietoa Von Reiche, Jenny Benett and Fitimaula Donna Ioane. 

According to the CEO of SSAB, Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, this year is a record as there was a total of 1,315 entries received; 625 in Samoan and 690 in English. 

The figures show the increase of interest in the competition and the amount of talent in students around Samoa. 

"This year is unique because even though there’s a pandemic, it did not deter us from doing our normal sponsorship and competition," Tofilau said. "It teaches us that there is always hope and the competition has enabled the kids to be more creative in their thinking and that actually came through in the stories.

"There is still hope, it gives them something to look forward to rather than being sad and affected by this pandemic."

2020 Short Story Winners

Year 4 English 

HC- Travis Betham, Vaiala Beach & Tausilioalii Lam, Samoa Primary 

3rd Robert Wendt           Marist Brothers 

2nd Ramseus Aiono           Sauniatu Primary 

1st Jackson McLeod         Vaiala Beach 

Year 4 Samoan

HC-Lolagi Ofisa Tofa, Vaimoso Primary & Hadassah Simati, Solosolo Primary  

3rd Toevalaauina Tanuaola   St Peter’s Primary, Falefa

2nd Maturion Nata F Sua   Vaimoso Primary 

1st Jacqueline Tevaga       St Mary’s Primary 



Year 5 English

HC-Ivanhoe Iosefa, Samoa Primary & Sophie Fesili, Vaiala Beach

3rd Serah Tagi              Vaiala Beach

2nd Meredith Ah Kuoi       Vaiala Beach 

1st Atonia Ah Him           Samoa Primary

Year 5 Samoan

HC- Gloria Reupena, Samoa Primary & Jessica Alofaifo, Aele Fou Primary  

3rd Potoae Tonumaipea      Sauniatu Primary 

2nd Robert Maoae           Lalomalava Primary

1st Adel Seumanutafa       Vaitele-uta  Primary 



Year 6 English

HC-Emanuel Va’ai, Vaiala Beach & Jireh Fau, RLS Primary 

3rd Josephine Sefo          Letui Primary 

2nd Imogen Myer            Vaiala Beach 

1st Salanatessa Hansell     Vaiala Beach 

Year 6 Samoan 

HC-Lynette Seuao, Solosolo Primary & Koroseta Tofiga, Moata’a Primary

3rd Gillian H Soti            Samoa Primary    

2nd Sonny Lekaisa           Puapua Primary 

1st Sita Posi                 Vailoa Faleata 



Year 7 English

HC-Douglas Ioane, Vailima Primary & Galusina McIntosh, Vaiala Beach

3rd Hellengrace Leota       Solosolo Primary

2nd Roses Mailelani Va’aulu  RLS Primary

1st Tausiva Fepuleai-Pita   Vaitele-uta   Primary 

Year 7 Samoan 

HC-Utahna Fa’alavaau, Lalomalava Primary & Fa’afetai Falaniko, Sagato Petelo Falefa

3rd Rebecca Lami            Sagato Petelo, Falefa No Number

2nd Elisha Naoupu            Aele Primary 

1st Bructaness Feula        Lepea Primary 



Year 8 English

HC- Cecilia Iosefa, St Mary’s Primary & Rosaline Ah Liki, Vaiala Beach

3rd James Davetanivalu     Vaiala Beach 

2nd Lopeti Lei Sam          Marist Brothers 

1st Ilevet Taupau            Divine Mercy School 

Year 8 Samoan

HC-Agape Viliamu, Tanugamanono & Shakainah Fa’asau, Moata’a Primary 

3rd Fenumiai Lavi            Vailima Primary 

2nd Le-Sinatapuitea         Siufaga, Falelatai 

1st Mahabi Malofou          Lalomalava 



Year 9 English

HC-Manino Fa’asopo, Itu o Tane College & Darren Peti, Don Bosco College

3rd Katalaina Sio            St Peters Chanel 

2nd Pius V Fa’anu’uali’i              St Josephs College 

1st Mataua Sue                     Itu o Tane 

Year 9 Samoan 

HC-Fana’afi Ioane, Le Amosa & Lesina Pio, St Mary’s

3rd Christina Aiva           St Mary’s 

2nd Vaioleola Ah Kuoi        Le Amosa Col 

1st Jalesofalita Lepule      Pesega Middle 



Year 10 English

HC Lonnysha Taua, Le Amosa & Faustina Ah Fook, Don Bosco

3rd Daryl Adam              Alofi-o-Taoa 

2nd Taunapo Magele Mohr   Leulumoega Fou 

1st Luzaria Tiresa Va’ai    St Mary’s 

Year 10 Samoan 

HC- Mavaega Fa’ataga,          Safata College & Patrick Tuanoa, Itu-o-Tane

3rd Mary Tautunu            Leifiifi College 

2nd Miracle Manase          Itu-o-Tane 

1stTaunapo Mohr             Leulumoega Fou 



Year 11 English

HC- Luvali Amani, Mata-ae-vave & Emmla Taua, Le Amosa 

3rd Oraynorose Magele      Mata-ae-vave

2nd Logo Fitisemanu         Pesega College 

1st Sonja Tuaumu            Mata-ae-vave

Year 11 Samoan

HC-Natalie Folau, Palaulaua College

3rd Uputaua Faigame        Itu-o-Tane 

2nd Miriama Ioane           Alofi-o-Taoa 

1st Loveni Ah Kuoi           Le Amosa 



Year 12 English

HC-Evvalani Lees Va’ai St Mary’s College & Dollysarai Menu, Itu-o-Tane 

3rd Anjecs Sheck            St Mary’s College 

2nd TJ Lauina                Le Amosa College 

1st Peta Toleafoa            St Mary’s College            

Year 12 Samoan 

HC- Tavita Sauileone, Itu-o-Tane & Henrychiu Lemauai, Leifiifi Col

3rd Towan Shiku Sauileone  Itu-o-Tane 

2nd Campaign Fidow          St Mary’s 

1st Fusita Tupu              Itu-O-Tane 



Year 13 English

HC-Audrey Lee Hang, St Mary’s College & Lucilla Tavita, Papauta College

3rd Lenalei Chan Ting       St Mary’s College 

2nd Lupeoaunuu Va’ai        St Mary’s College 

1st Tupulua Pelenato         Fa’atuatua C College 

Year 13 Samoan 

HC-Matia Fua, Itu-o-Tane & Va’asili Sasita, Savaii Sisifo

3rd Litia Pauaraisa          Alofi-o-Taoa 

2nd Faletui Leleiga           Alofi-o-Taoa

1st Tilitilimai Ah Kuoi       Le Amosa 


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