Amoa College Principal says goodbye after three decades
After dedicating 31 years of her life to serving Amoa College as a teacher, 27 of which she was at the helm as the school's Principal, Papali'i Fa'aiutaua Andersen is calling it a day.
On Thursday when the school congregated to celebrate the end of the year, the outgoing Principal stood before the school she led for 27 years for one last time.
Papali'i first entered the gates of Amoa College at Saipipi in Savai'i in the year 1989.
The 58-year-old bid farewell to the place which she referred to as her "home away from home."
Papali'i's contract as a Principal ended this year.
However, she did not re-apply for the position, saying she decided it was time to take a break and relax for a while and enjoy some quality time with her family before she decides on her next move.
She fought to hold back her tears as she delivered her final remarks, reminiscing on all the years she spent at Amoa.
"This should not be a sad day for us all," Papali'i, who is better known as Mrs. Andersen said.
"Even though it is hard not to cry and get emotional every time I think about having to leave the place that has been home for me for the past 31 years."
She then took a trip down to memory lane, recalling her first years at Amoa.
"I came to Amoa in the year 1989 way before the school became a College.
"There were only seven teachers back then and classes from Year 9 to Year 11.
"Back then, the school had a very small school building and the compound was quite smaller compare to what we have now.
"Looking back, I am in awe of God's love and guidance upon Amoa as this school has come a long way.
"And the credit goes back to He who has been at the forefront.
"When I first became Principal, I was nervous and scared as I was young and did not know what to do and how to face the district and community.
"I still remember the love and support from the parents and the different villages in the district who took turns to feed and provide food for the teachers. That was something we looked at and discouraged parents from continuing because we understood that it was not easy for the parents to keep providing food (fafaga) for the teachers.
"There were times when students did not show up to classes in the morning, but then we would see them in the afternoon coming with their parents to bring food for the teachers."
Since she became school Principal, Papali'i said she had to come up with ideas of various school activities outside of the classroom to not only get the student excited for school, but also help build up their self-confidence.
"So we started having English days, and culture Days and they really helped the students in a lot of ways,” she said.
"They used the opportunities to not only show their different talents but also their confidence to perform and speak in front of an audience."
When speaking about her accomplishments, Papali'i proudly said that Amoa College was the first of few schools in Savai'i that made the shift from Secondary to College.
"But the biggest accomplishment for me is seeing former students from this school excel in the different professions they pursued,” she said.
"It's such a joy seeing them do well and know they were once educated here at Amoa College."
Turning to the students, Papali'i said : "Always strive to do your best.
"You are here for a reason, to be educated and to prepare you for the future.
"Always remember the support and love of your parents and families. Obey and listen to the teachers and make good use of every opportunity you get.
"Success is a journey, not a destination."
Turning to her crew of teachers whom she worked with, Papali'i encouraged them to keep working hard.
She reminded the staff at Amoa that teaching is not an easy profession.
However, she is a true believer that the future of any nation is in the hands of teachers.
"You are given the opportunity to nurture future leaders of our country, so keep working hard."
She also took the opportunity to thank everyone who supported her while she was at the helm.
Former students of Amoa College, also paid tribute to Mrs. Andersen for the contribution she had made to their lives.
They took time out of their busy schedules to farewell the outgoing school Principal and gifted her with presents as a way of expressing their gratitude, for her contribution to their lives.