Vaiola College's valedictorian a leader by example
Sasamamao Pauli Kalolo was declared the valedictorian for the Church College of Vaiola in Savai'i on Tuesday but also a committed, hardworking student and a leader by example.
The 17-year-old from the village of Salelologa not only led the school as the School's President, but she was also named the top student for the Year 13 level for the year 2020, during a prize giving held at the school's new multipurpose gymnasium.
She was moved to tears when she was named the school Valedictorian for this year, an accomplishment she was hoping to share with her late grandmother, Pipi Asiasiga.
Unfortunately, her grandmother could not be at the audience and cheer for her as she wished.
"I wish my grandmother was here so she could see me achieve this milestone," Sasamamao told the Samoa Observer as she fought to hold back her tears.
"She passed away earlier this year and it was the biggest challenge I had to overcome this year. She has been there for me from the beginning and used to go to all of our prize givings.
"It was hard not to think and wish for her presence today.
"However, this is for her. I hope she is happy and satisfied with what I have accomplished."
Sasamamao is the second child of Kalolo and Fa'apale's nine children.
When asked to explain how she felt after being awarded as the top student for the graduating class of this year, the reserved teen was lost for words.
"I don't know what to say, I am speechless and humbled by this achievement," she told the Samoa Observer.
"This is probably one of the greatest blessings I have received so far."
The modest 17-year-old summed up her journey at Vaiola College, as "adventurous".
"Both good and bad," she said.
"There were times that I got sent to the office for misbehaving and I'm grateful for everything I learned and went through during my years in College.
"The other interesting part about attending Vaiola College is because it is a Church school. And I got to learn more about the gospel.
"This is an L.D.S. (Latter-Day Saints) church college, and I am not a member. So I got to learn more about the gospel during my time here, which is something I will always take with me everywhere I go.
"I am grateful for this journey."
With Physics and Computing being her favorite subjects, Sasamamao says her dream job is to work in I.T. (information technology) at the Office of the Regulator.
The aspiring I.T. specialist said she is anticipating the beginning of her University journey next year: "I am looking forward to what lies ahead and I am so ready for next year."