St. Joseph's College to celebrate 70th anniversary

The oldest secondary school in Samoa, St. Joseph’s College, will commemorate its 70th anniversary this year with a Fautasi race led by its old pupils.

This was confirmed by the President of the Marist Brothers Old Pupils Association [M.B.O.P.A.], Tuatagaloa Aumua Ming Leung Wai in an interview with Samoa Observer.

According to Tuatagaloa, he said that St. Joseph’s College’s 70th anniversary will be celebrated on November this year.

He said the college was established in 1950 at Mulivai before it was relocated to Lotopa in 1960. Before getting relocated again to Alafua in 1989 due to the increasing number of students.

“The old boys [St. Joseph] decided to celebrate the 70th anniversary at the end of September this year, however, because of the coronavirus that was postponed to a later date in the year upon the advice of our patron the honourable prime minister,” said Tuatagaloa.

He also mentioned that the association executive met with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and he has advised them to proceed with the celebrations in November.

“So now we will hold the celebrations in November which will be a three-day event from 6-8 of November and it’s a very low key event, instead of a weeklong event, it has been reduced to three days.”

Tuatagaloa added that the event will start with a church mass on Friday morning, followed by a lunch and photo session. 

“Because of the coronavirus we will not go ahead with our corporate dinner that we were planning but we will have a radiothon right after mass.

“In the afternoon will have a Fautasi Race for all the four houses [colours] Marcellin [blue], Alfred [green], Dieter [red], and Darnard [yellow]. 

“An average of 42 rowers per fautasi; everyone is excited for the upcoming event and we are very competitive when it comes to the houses.”

He said that a fautasi race was also held during the school’s 60th anniversary but this year’s is going to be different.

“We have invited another fautasi [long boat] to take part and that’s going to be a surprise and we will wait for that fautasi to respond whether they accept the invitation or the challenge.

“So we are hoping the fautasi race will finish hopefully in front of the [Savalalo] fish market so that students from our Marist School will be able to all come and watch the event.

“On Saturday, it will be our sports day: soccer, golf, touch rugby, netball, and fun games for our children as well; we will also invite St. Mary’s old girls association to take part with prize giving in the afternoon.”

The event will close on Sunday with a church service followed by a feast. 

“Others wanted to cancel the celebration but given the easing of the state of emergency [S.O.E.] restrictions and regulations, we believe that we should do something to make people happy during these sad times, especially with Teuila Festival being cancelled.

“Let’s go ahead with it but low key and everyone be happy and thank God for the 70 years of the college and hopefully make some money for the school.

“It is very unfortunate that our Marist associations overseas, cannot make it but they were all planning to come but because of the pandemic, it will only be local members with families.”

He also extended the invitation to all the old boys and girls to come and take part in the preparations for the 70th anniversary celebration in order to make it a successful event.

“I would like to give praise and glory to God for the 70 years of the college, we have come a long way, and there have been ups and downs but we thank God for his provision and his guidance.

“And us coming together to celebrate 70 years of the college is really us coming together to give thanks unto God.

“The college has educated so many of our young men who have become leaders in their own right, and so we thank God for that." 

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