“Our Marist Family is Grieving” – Principal of St Joseph’s College

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Tragedy struck one of Samoa’s longest serving educational institutions last Friday when 16 year old David Manuele died during a school activity held inside the St Joseph’s College school hall.

School Principal Brother Afaese Afaese expresses sincere condolences to David’s family and says the Marist family are grieving the sudden loss of one of their own.

After the incident David’s uncle Ulugia David Paono lashed out on social media asking questions, and blaming the decision to hold sack racing inside the hall on a concrete floor, to have contributed to his nephew’s death.

However, the school has issued a statement stating David had already completed his part of the sack race, when he collapsed.

“St Joseph’s College is deeply saddened by the passing away of one of its students on Friday 19th March 2021..

“The incident happened during fun games to commemorate the feast day of the College’s namesake, Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The student had completed his part of the sack race when he collapsed.”

The statement further confirms teachers had administered first aid at the scene, but were not successful.

Brother Afaese adds that counseling is available to help students cope with the loss.

The media statement from St Joseph’s College is published in verbatim below:

St Joseph’s College is deeply saddened by the passing away of one of its students on Friday 19th March 2021.

The incident happened during fun games to commemorate the feast day of the College’s namesake, Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The student had completed his part of the sack race when he collapsed.

Teachers had administered first aid at the scene but were not successful. The FESA ambulance that was called took the student to the national hospital.

The College’s priest and staff held a prayer service at the hospital.

“Our sincerest condolences to Tavita Manuele’s parents and family. This was an unfortunate incident and our Marist family is grieving,” said Br Afaese Afaese, the Principal of the College.

He added that counselling is available to students and teachers at the College.

The student’s uncle and namesake, Ulugia David Pouoa is not satisfied with the explanation given and says their family, especially his sister, deserves to know the details of what led to David’s death.


Our thoughts and prayers go out to David Manuele’s parents and family; as well as the school principal, teachers and students of St Joseph’s College.