A group of less than 200 students from Vaiala Beach Primary School fundraised an amazing amount of $1,003 to donate to Samoa’s Olympic medalist, Ele Opeloge.
Principal, Lorraine Williams, said the students are extremely excited to be able to contribute to the Samoa Observer Ele’s Fund.
“We wanted to support the Ele Fund because she’s from Vaoala which isn’t far from here and it’s a first for Samoa,” she said.
“We told the kids about Ele’s story and how she had to wait eight long years before getting the medal. We also educated them on the significance of receiving the first Olympic medal for Samoa.”
That was it from there.
Students, staff and parents were prompted into action and committed to the cause.
Ms. Williams said students were standing outside on the driveway of the school with the box in hand persuasively pulling the heartstrings and purse strings of parents as they were dropping off their kids.
What made the presentation even more special was before presenting their gift, all the students performed a heart melting rendition of the hit single from the movie, Moana, “How Far I’ll Go” in honour of Ele and guests.
Tuaopepe Jerry Wallwork, President of the Samoa Weightlifting Federation and Marj Moore from the Samoa Observer were overwhelmed with joy.
Tuaopepe spoke on behalf of Ele and the Weightlifting Federation.
“On behalf of weightlifting and Ele who’s not here, I would like to thank the principal, teachers and the school for this heavy and wonderful gift. We’re very appreciative of Vaiala Beach School.”
Ms. Moore also commended the school for the initiative.
Tuaopepe promised to bring Ele to the school when she arrives, which was met with excitement and cheering for the students.
“ When Ele does come , which will be soon, we’ll bring her up with her silver medal and we can have her do a little demonstration.”
Lastly, Tuaopepe took the opportunity to encourage the students about the tough but rewarding life of an elite athlete.
“Just something very short on the life of a professional athlete and an elite athlete so you young kids will know. As you grow up, some of you will become doctors, lawyers and some of you will become athletes, the very best.
“The life of an athlete is a very hard life. They sacrifice everything and lead a very disciplined life. So just have a think about that. Ele had to do that for 10 years flat to produce those results to get an Olympic medal for Samoa. I think that’s outstanding for a local girl who grew up here, trained here, and is 110% Samoan.
“Take that with you. Use it when you grow up and when if you become an ahtlete, think about the hard work that goes into it. It took her 10 years, everyday, six days a week. Something to think about.”