Danise Sinera Titi Latapele Margraff is the 2020 Robert Louis Stevenson School (RLSS) dux, who took out a clean sweep first place for all five of her subjects.
Ms Margraff placed first in all her selected Form 6 subjects; Math, English, Accounting, Economics, and Computer Studies, and also took out Samoa Chamber’s ‘Top Commerce Student’ award for the year.
Speaking to Samoa Global News, Danise says she is grateful to God for her achievements.
“First and foremost all glory goes to God because none of this would have been possible without Him and his plans for me”.
Danise is one of two children of Faamatuainu Dennis Margraff and Saliloimanatu Tavita-Margraff; a couple who three years ago, stood beside their elder son Vensel, when he took out the RLSS dux for 2016. A young Danise had been Top of her Form 2 Level that same year.
Vensel went on to dux UPY in 2017 and is now studying Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland.
Following in her older sibling’s footsteps, the 17 year old says her only regret is that her brother was unable to share the day with her.
“For this academic year, my inspiration would be my brother, Vensel Margraff, who unfortunately couldn’t be present at our prize giving because he is still in New Zealand;
“He inspired me to pursue my goals and it was sad for me that he couldn’t be there yesterday to witness it all..”
Danise was not without supporters as the Tavita-Margraff cheering squad was out again in full force to help her celebrate; joining in for the taualuga in style with cash to lafo, lots of ulalole, flowers, and of course, not missing the congratulatory banner.
“I am truly grateful to have had my cheering squad by my side yesterday..
“My parents, my aunties, uncles, cousins, and of course my grandpa”.
“I dedicate my achievements to my family, friends as well as my teachers”.
“As the saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and so I owe it to each and every one of them, they are the reason behind all my achievements”, shares Danise.
Danise has been described by her family as their “quiet achiever”.
“Just like any other teenager she can be distracted at times, but we find that she can also switch to being very focused and determined,” says her Mom with a humble smile.
Danise’s focus and determination did not let the year’s disruptions of COVID-19 lockdowns distract her from achieving the highest level of excellence in her academic studies.
Asked to share how she is able to avoid inherent risks and distractions facing youth today, Danise says she has to always emind herself of her “why”.
“The quote that got me through this academic year, that I believe would go as great advice for others as well, is ‘remember why you started’...
“Whenever I found myself lazing around or giving in to social media distractions etc, I’d remind myself why I’m in school and who I’m doing it for”, says Danise.
The 17 year old is focused and knows exactly what she wants to pursue in terms of future career choice.
“I aspire to work in the field of Information and Communication Technology, with Business Information Analytics.” she says without hesitation.
Form 6 students across Samoa will start the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (SSLC) National Examinations next Monday 7th December.