Not everyone travels in a straight line as they leave school and seek further education or enter the work force.
One of our front page stories, “Hurdle after Hurdle …” is a wonderful story with a twist, in comparison with some of the others we have featured over the past weeks.
Amongst the many joyous stories over the last weeks about academic achievements and success in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, there have been noticeable commonalities about the achievers.
Setting goals, encouragement from family members, a desire to succeed and a determination when times get tough, are just a few characteristics to be admired from those featured in our newspaper.
But in the case of Mrs Fatiaki, having a few obstacles thrown in her path, means she certainly needed some other qualities as well – flexibility, the ability to adjust to changes and circumstances, making difficult sacrifices while all the while, believing her decisions were the right ones.
In her journey, Mrs Fatiaki also needed courage and strong self belief which has enabled her to make some tough decisions.
And now, she can look back with pride not just on her achievements, but also what she has learned about herself along the way.
On the other hand, it’s hard to forget though that for every story about success, attainment and achievement, there are many other unwritten stories where there were no choices, no chances and fewer achievements to enjoy and take pride in.
There are still so many of our young people who do not even get to make decisions about what jobs they aspire to or where their lives are heading – due to their financial or family circumstances.
Those decisions may have been made for them.
For some it meant leaving school before becoming literate – in Samoan let alone English.
In too many cases, they were needed at home to help even if it was to continue the subsistence style life of their parents as they grew older.
Still others, may have learned the hard way that there are few jobs available out there and even fewer, if you left school early with few skills.
So while we enjoy reading the stories of young people celebrating the outcomes of hours of hard work while being supported by their parents, families and friends, perhaps we should spare a thought for those who were not fortunate enough to have those chances and to make those choices.