Student overcomes hurdles to become dux

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic presented no insurmountable obstacles to a student who graduated as dux of her college.

Seventeen-year-old Year 13 student Gardena Satiu was named the top commerce pupil and dux of the Maluafou College on Monday.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, she said this year was a long and challenging year and she was happy she has come out of it at the top.

"Coming this far, I feel grateful and I am very happy with my achievements and I’m filled with gratitude," she said.

"It’s been a long year of many late-night studies, early mornings but I made it because God has been my main provider and source of knowledge."

Ms Satiu was also the top student in English, computer studies and accounting and acknowledged her mother and the family for providing her with a support system during a challenging year.

"Despite all the ranges of distraction throughout this whole year, including the state of emergency that was made to prevent COVID-19 from infecting the people, which halted schools around March and April and so now I finally graduated and I give thanks to the Lord,” added the graduating student.

"It was really tough, but I thank my mum who inspires me, and every moment of my journey she has always been by my side and to my family, their prayers and support have been amazing. To our teachers who give me much support throughout this academic year."

Studying at the Maluafou College since 2016 has had its benefits, emphasised the graduate, who claimed that it encouraged her to work towards achieving her goals under the guidance and advice of her teachers. 

Ms Satiu dreams of becoming an accountant one day and continues to pray that God will enable her to realise her dream. 

Samoa’s Year 12-13 students are preparing to sit the National Secondary Examinations (Samoa School Certificate) while those doing the Samoa School Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.)) will convene the examination from December 07-17.

Ms Satiu added that her studies are coming along well and took the opportunity to wish this year’s Year 12-13 students sitting the examination all the best.

"As we are about to sit the SSLC and SSC exams, I pray that God leads our way and that he provides the knowledge that we need,” she said.

"Exam preparations are going along fine and I’m super excited for university next year."

Her proud mother, Vaotumua Satiu, said she was pleased with her daughter's achievements and the completion of her college education. 

She acknowledged everyone who had contributed to her daughter's education and achievements. 

"All in all the glory is returned to God because He has made it possible for the kids. I’m very thankful for Gardena’s achievement and I’m thankful for the completion of another stage of her academic life and while she prepares for the university life," she added.

"Many thanks to the principal and teachers for the hard work of teaching the children and also to my sisters overseas who have contributed to Gardena’s education and to all our families at Fagaloa and Saanapu." 

The graduate is from the village of Siusega and graduated from Vaitele Primary School in 2015 before attending Maluafou college a year later.

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