Dux to follow in father's footsteps

By Faynihanthia Fereti 30 November 2023, 7:00PM

It has been a challenging yet rewarding journey for Marysulesa Matavai Tautunu. She had to overcome numerous challenges and pursue her dream of following in her father's footsteps.

The Leifiifi College prize-giving ceremony was held at the school compound in Malifa on Thursday morning and was attended by the families and friends of students.

The 17-year-old was named the top student of Leifiifi College's Year 13 and she is one step away from reaching that dream and becoming an archaeologist just like her father.

She is the daughter of Taiao Matiu Dr. Matavai Tautunu, a well-known archaeologist and the director of the National University of Samoa (NUS) Center for Samoan Studies. Taiao has made great contributions in embracing and preserving Samoan history, culture and treasures following several academic achievements.  

Ms. Tautunu's love and passion for history, Samoan culture, treasures (measina) as well as her family is overwhelming. 

In an interview with Samoa Observer, she said her journey hasn't been easy, having to juggle her studies, her duties at school, and at the same time caring for her grandparents.

"I dedicate my achievements to my parents, my grandparents and my family. I would not have made it this far and achieved all of this without them by my side" she said.

"Dividing my time between studies and family obligations was the most challenging and countless times I had to sacrifice school work so I could be of help to my grandparents but on the bright side, they gave me the blessings and the motivation to stay strong"

The top student then thanked her family and relatives for supporting her financially throughout her school years.

"I thank my Savaii family for all the prayers and support also my Aleipata family for all that they have done which contributed a lot in my academic journey." 

The Principal of Leifiifi College, Malaea Lauano, said that the school has concluded another academic year after overcoming many challenges.

She said the school and students went through a lot of challenges and part of it was intervention from the events that the school participated in which affected their schedule. 

"The staff worked closely with parents and guardians to overcome all obstacles and our focus has always been on valuing every student's potential."

Lauano said the 2023 academic year started with over 900 students who enrolled but closed this year with just over 800.

By Faynihanthia Fereti 30 November 2023, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

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