A new era for Avele College began yesterday when the college re-opened.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi and the Minister of Education, Loau Keneti Sio, were guests during a special assembly where students were joined by parents at the school.
In addressing the gathering, Tuilaepa said the decision to reopen Avele was not easy and he reminded that this is the absolute last chance given to the school.
Minister Loau highlighted the need for everyone to work together.
“Everyone has a part to play,” he said. “It’s not just the principal and teachers.”
He told everyone to look back no more and to learn from the mistakes of the past.
“Let’s not talk about the mistakes of yesterday, instead use the lessons we learned from there so that together, we can all succeed.”
Turning to the students, Loau reminded each and every student to think hard about the sacrifices their parents make in order for them to be educated.
“The next time you think of fighting, think about your parents first, and how much your actions and behaviour affects them. They are ones who will come and face the principal, or me asking for help and to accept you back to the school.”
He also told them to remember the sacrifices and the trouble the Principal, teachers, old students and parents had to go through to reopen the school.
“It was hard seeing them in tears asking for help,” he said. “And we never want to let that happen again.”
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Education both wished the principal and staff of Avele the best of luck on their new journey.
The Principal of the school, Lesaisaea Reupena Matafeo reiterated that yesterday morning was a day of celebration and thanksgiving. Not only was he celebrating his 59th birthday, but also the school that he consider ‘home’ was given another chance to reopen again.
“And for that, we should thank God and give Him all the glory He deserves.”
But the celebration did not last long, as he went straight to elaborating on some of the new changes they have now set for the school.
The students were told that they are banned from the Savalalo Market.
All the students coming from Aleipata to Apia will have to wait at the Fire and Emergency Service Authority headquarters, near the Police station in the morning to be picked up by the school vehicles.
For students coming from Falelatai to Apia, they will wait for the school bus at the Fugalei market, instead of going to the flea market.
For those students coming from Siumu and Faleata, they will no longer have to go to the market, they were told to get off in front of the main gate of the school.
The other condition is that, all the twenty six students that had been accused of being involved in the last school brawls are no longer accepted back into the school.
Moreover, if any other student will be expelled from Avele, they will no longer be accepted by any other schools in Samoa.
Students are not allowed to bring cell phones to school anymore.
“The students will be punished by sending them to have hard labour for the whole day if we find out that she or he brought a cell phone to school,” said Lesaisaea.
“An advisory council has been set up by the school to examine and control the behaviours of the students.”
Should there be any more troubles arising from the students, Lesaisaea said they will contact the police straight away.
“We spend too much time trying to control your behaviours and trying to solve these issues than we do with the actual reason why we are here, and that is to learn and be educated.”
Tutorial classes for Year 12 and Year 13 students also started yesterday, from 6pm-9pm.They were supposed to start on the same week the school was temporarily closed.
Moreover, while the other government schools go on the school break for two weeks, Avele College will not join the rest of the schools.
“Cabinet has also agreed to this. This is will be the opportunity for the students to catch up on their syllabus.”
However, the school will still have a break during the three-day public holiday for the independence celebration.
“These are some of the conditions we agreed on with Cabinet during the meeting on Monday. And we will all work together to implement these changes.”
Lesaisaea admitted that it’s not easy as Avele only has one more chance from Cabinet. However, he believes that with God, and with the support of all the parents, teachers, and old students, there will no troubles.
“Let’s all work together for a better future for Avele and for our children.”