An old Samoan saying states: “O le al i le pule o le tautua” (the road to greatness is through service).
Seven students and four staff members travelled to Samoa on November 22 to spend eight days working with two schools in need of assistance, truly living this statement.
Erin Golden, Bradley Eldridge, Elizabeth Portolesi, Melissa Bortolin, Declan Lynch, Veniana Caqusau and Miracle Tietie gave up their chance of schoolies to partake in an international adventure of generosity and compassion.
Paying their own way, they were challenged to ‘seek to understand’ and to use the values and teachings of Marian to aid in the integration of faith, culture and life between Marian and the two Samoan Schools.
This is Marian’s third successful trip dating back to 2013. It was then that the relationship between the high school of Paul VI College and the primary school of St Peters was established with ours.
Our College Chaplin at the time proposed that we help in any way possible, these two schools, as they were in dire straits financially and with little to no resources for their students. It was then that Project Sam was established and an international trip of aid was initiated.
In Samoa we were met by the Archbishop Alapati Lui Mataeliga who stipulated how close both schools were to closing and how thankful he was for the efforts of the students past and present and the connections we were making.
He called us all missionaries of compassion and faith as we took part in our journey. Whilst there our students and staff participated in traditional ceremonies with the students and created a mural (which was in aid of restoring the College) which depicted signs and symbols of the two cultures joining together.
It symbolised the long term relationship that Marian has committed to Paul VI College with big plans for the future.
A big part of the trip is for students of both Colleges to put a face to the helping hand. In the past Marian has generously donated funds to both Colleges through Year 12 fundraising and the College also established a scheme where graduating students can donate their laptops to Samoa when they have completed their studies.
In addition, this year the school was able to send a large shipping container filled with classroom resources. This included desks, stools and chairs, books and cordless drills. Through our visit it is clear that this will provide a much needed boost to their teaching environment.
This was made possible by support of SunRice Ricegrowers Ltd who handled the transportation of the container.
The lesson for all was invaluable and if anything students and staff both learnt that you can never take for granted what you have.
It also highlighted the power of giving and the importance of helping our fellow man. Service truly is the pathway to greatness and this mission of compassion and service definitely placed everyone on that path.
Lastly, both schools in Samoa provided an abundance of gifts for the students and staff.
As a continued effort to support Paul VI and St Peters these gifts will be sold at our Project Samoa day and all funds raised will go directly back to the schools. We would like to thank all that participated and supported this trip.
It is refreshing to be reminded how compassionate and generous our youth can be and that they are the same all over the world. Project Samoa is a proud initiative of Marian Catholic College that we are sure will go way into the future.