From farm boy to Avele’s Dux

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Avele College students celebrate.

Don’t try to just to make a living. aspire instead to make a difference.

That’s the mantra which led Tuanofoaga Fa’avae to become the 2017 Dux of Avele College yesterday.

The young boy saw the struggles that his family was going through which gave him the strength to keep on going even when times got tough.

“I am just a farm boy,” he said. “My family relies mainly on the land for survival. 

People do not know the challenges that we go through every day trying to budget and put kids in school. 

“I want to be able to support my family and lift them up and make a change and I knew that this the best way of doing it.”

Inspiration is mostly established in the most vulnerable places, and Tuanofoaga is a living testament to that.

“Both my parents don’t work and there are six of us kids. My motivation to always strive for the best in school was seen through my family. We always struggle looking for money and it has built me to achieve big. 

“Not only that, my father has cancer and my mother does not know how to rest. She is always working the land when I am in school, they are the reason I am here today,” he added.

The 16-year-old said seeing his father very sick inspired him and he was also the one who taught him to be a real man. 

Tuanofoaga believes that a real man would always aim high and strive for more, never settles for what he has done because there is always more room for improvement.

He is very humbled and his heart is full of gratitude towards his family and also God for all he has done for him through it all.

“Every time the going got tough I prayed. It has been hard to be independent and never rely on anybody else but I thank God because he has helped me all along in this journey.”

Tuanofoaga is keen on becoming a civil engineer in the future. 

Tuanofoaga is the third eldest of six children. His father is Faavae and his mother is Fuiono Vitale and they are from the villages of Aleisa and Vaoala. 

Faavae said Tuanofoaga was very different from all his six children. He could rely on him for basically everything and that his son does everything at home the washing, cleaning and cooking. 

“He is very humble and obedient. I’m a very strict parent and never has he answered a word back, all you’d ever see are his tears. He is very reliable and he can do all the chores that girls are supposed to be doing.”

DUX: Tuanofoaga Faavae with his father Faavae and his mother, Fuiono Vitale. Photo / Misiona Simo
DUX: Tuanofoaga Faavae with his father Faavae and his mother, Fuiono Vitale. Photo / Misiona Simo
Joseph Lafauoalii and Daniel Talivao with happy family members.
Joseph Lafauoalii and Daniel Talivao with happy family members.
Robert Fagavai, Samuelu Sooalo and Joseph Serio with family members.
Robert Fagavai, Samuelu Sooalo and Joseph Serio with family members.
Vaipou Chan Wong‘s family shares in his achievements.
Vaipou Chan Wong‘s family shares in his achievements.
Tesimale Suesue with his brothers Epa and Bill Clinton and their mother Salema Suesue
Tesimale Suesue with his brothers Epa and Bill Clinton and their mother Salema Suesue

Faavae mentioned how thankful he is to God. Since they work the land for survival, both he and his wife are unemployed and sometimes when we have no money, they get tomatoes and cucumbers from their garden and put in a pack for Tuanofoaga to sell on his way to school, which will be his bus fare. 

“He is not ashamed and he is always striving for the best. Money or no money he would always want to come to school.”

The 47-year-old is certain that his son is an assurance that God does hear prayers.

“This is proof that God does hear our silent prayers and no there is no better way to find blessings than being on your knees.

“Every time my son will sit an exam, my wife and I will seek the Lord for his favour through fasting and praying.

This is proof that God does hear our silent prayers and no there is no better way to find blessings than being on your knees. God’s love has been revealed through our son and his performance today.

“I am not a smart or wise person, but I thank God for answering our prayers. I feel very happy. The Bible holds so much truth in it, when the Lord spoke about having a son that is smart makes a father very proud,” he said. 

Awards:

Top three Year 13 students:

• First place – Tuanofoaga Faavae

• Second place – Arietta Faaulu

• Third place – Luminadho Lavea 

Top students: 

• Commerce – Sooleoso Palamo

• Arts – Tilomai Gatoloai 

• Science – Tuanofoaga Faavae

© Samoa Observer 2016

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