Alumni of Tonga's oldest school for boys celebrated 155 years of history, memories and brotherhood Saturday, February 27.
The Tupou College in Toloa Tonga has 30 Old Boys, from three generations that now call Griffith home. Saturday afternoon the group and their families celebrated with a feast and festivities to share fond memories and enjoy a piece of home-away-from-home for a night.
"The celebration was lots of fun. It took many of us back to where we met at school," Mr Palanite said, who is one of three alumni of his generation in Griffith.
"There were some dance performances of Tongan dance and lots of food.
"The youngest Old Boy was 21 years old who was born here but went back to study at Tupou College to learn our culture."
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Patron of the Griffith Tupou College Old Boys, Vaiutumalama Palanite studied from 1968 to 1971 at the college, but in 1981 he decided to up route his life from his home land to build new opportunities for his family in Australia.
"Coming here meant finding some peace for me and my family," Mr Palanite said.
"I love life here in Griffith, I've been here since 1995."
Tupou College was the only college in Tonga that Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Megan visited in their tour of Tonga in 2018.
They dedicated two forest reserves at Tupou College's Toloa Forest Reserve to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy and enoyed performances by the students.
Mr Palanite has many great memories from his school days, in particular the emphasis of the school on spiritual education.
"It was a good school for sports and study, especially for spiritual life," Mr Palanite said.
"Most of the Tongan rugby team belonged to our college."
The Tupou College Old Boys in Griffith meet every weekend as a social group and Mr Palanite said he is very happy the group has stayed together over the years.
"I want to thank everyone who came and celebrated our 155 years."
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