PR - Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is singing praises for the Classmates of 1981 Reunion which coincided with Samoa’s 54th Independence Celebrations earlier this month.
“At first I was under the assumption that the reunion was exclusively for alumni from one college when they took part in the Independence Day Parade,” said the Prime Minister.
“But I was surprised to learn that the alumni is a combination of graduates from government and mission colleges such as Samoa College, CCWS, Leulumoega-fou, Logoipulotu Savaii, St Mary’s and St Joseph’s and some from abroad. They all started from Apia Infant and Primary then Leififi Intermediate before they went their separate ways to graduate at the same time in 1981 from their respective colleges.
“Ironically, that was a dark time for Samoa, due to the PSA Strike which forced colleges to close for 16 weeks except Samoa College. And for the record, this government was not in office at the time but I can say that despite the hardships back then, 35 years later the Classmates of 1981 have set the benchmark in reuniting to stand proud having overcome that difficult period.
“For their trials and tribulations, the Classmates of 81 reunion has sent out an audible and crystal clear message to the students of today,” added the Prime Minister. “School rivalry leading to public peace disturbances is not the answer.
“Become assets to your parents, families and communities like the Classmates of 1981 and not liabilities which is a disgrace.
Continued the Prime Minister;
“Now that was just icing on the cake because that same evening I was humbled to be the guest of honour in a Teachers Recognition Banquet hosted by the Class Reunion to pay tribute to their many teachers who have retired or still active.
“It was a moving experience to witness the students paying tribute to their teachers who have all played a pivotal role in their education for them to become who they are today; many in top executive posts in our private and public sector as well as abroad in New Zealand, Australia and American Samoa.
“To be appreciated and recognised by your ex-students is the highest accolade that any teacher could ask for.
“And we all know that if students including ex-students do not feel teacher appreciation, their whole education has failed.”
Having said that, the Prime Minister is encouraging future class reunions to follow the example set by the Classmates of 1981.
On that note, the Prime Minister feels that the banquet should also serve as a reminder to the local teaching fraternity that the teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.
And lastly but not the least he commended the local reunion organising committee headed by Computer Services Ltd’s Chief Executive Laeimau Oketevi Tanuvasa Savea and SPREP’s Director Namulauulu Leota Kosimiti Latu and their committee as brainchild of a grand and memorable reunion with their colleagues and most importantly their teachers.
The Classmates of 1981 will again reunite in 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.