SMOGA Launches 65 Year Anniversary Celebration of St Mary’s College

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The St Mary’s Old Girls Association (SMOGA) officially launched the school’s 65th anniversary celebrations on Sunday 7th November with a mass held at the Catholic cathedral in the heart of Apia.

This year, Saint Mary’s College (SMC) Vaimoso commemorates 65 years since it was established, marking an important milestone for the SMSM Sisters (Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary), School Principal Ms Sina Fitu, staff and students of SMC, as well as SMOGA, and all the women of Samoa who had been educated at the college since its establishment in 1956.

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Sunday’s launch mass was followed by a toonai with food displays and presentations by the 10 teams SMOGA has divided into – placing a little school spirit competition on the celebrations. The teams have been named after the first 10 Sister school principals of the school.

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The school’s organised association of alumni affectionately known as ‘old girls’ have a long established history of supporting the school’s needs over the past six decades.

SMOGA President Afamasaga Vernier Punivalu says projects not only help with resources needed by the school, but also to assist with the academic side of student achievement.

“The college has a current roll of around 450 young girls, and some of our more recent projects includes assistance with the construction of the school’s new library building that opened two years ago,” said Afamasaga.

“We also offer assistance by providing free after-hour tutorials for Year 13 students, as they prepare for national exams..

“During national athletics we provide refreshments and monetary donations for the school squads zones and Champ of Champs,” said Afamasaga, “And we also provide financial assistance for staff to receive performance based bonuses at the end of the school year.

The major SMOGA project for the school’s 65 year celebration is the construction of new sports facilities and a netball court for the school.

Major project of the 65 Year Celebration.

The interventions by SMOGA have seen the school excel both in sports and academically in recent years. St Mary’s College took out the 2021 Champ of Champs as overall winners of the national secondary schools netball competition for both Intermediate and Junior divisions.

“The sports and netball fields built where the old tennis court used to be, will offer students better training facilities, so they can continue to excel in the sport,” says the President.

As fruits of the hard work of teachers and support of SMOGA through tutorials, St Mary’s College achieved a 100% success rate to the National University of Samoa after the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams in 2020.

Out of the 69 SMC students who sat the Year 13 national SSLC exam last year, 64 qualified for the NUS foundation year, while the remaining 5 entered NUS under vocational studies.

“We have programmes set out throughout November and the opening of our sports/netball field will be one of the highlights of the anniversary celebrations”, said the SMOGA President.

The SMC 65th Anniversary Celebrations is themed, “Celebrating the Work of the SMSM Sisters”.

The SMSM Sisters have served the Catholic Church and the people of Samoa since 1864. Their contribution to education is marked through the opening of schools in Savalalo, Saleufi, Vaea, Aleipata, Lotofaga, Falefa, Leauvaa, Leulumoega, Mulivai Safata, Lelatele, Falealupo, Safotu and Safotulafai. They also opened schools in Leone and Lepua in American Samoa as well as a school in Tokelau.

A total of 19 schools were founded and established by the SMSM sisters.

History also records that the SMSM sisters looked after people with the Hansen disease, or leprosy in Ali and Nuutele.

SMOGA’s support now focuses on the remaining schools still under the care of the SMSM Sisters – St Mary’s College, Vaimoso and St Mary’s Primary School, Savalalo.

“The SMSM Sisters founded the school in 1956. Their selfless acts have made our school one of the most successful colleges in the country – academically and also in other areas such as sports, and the Sisters continue to play a vital role in the school’s daily operations,’ adds Afamasaga.

The 10 teams are made up of a mixture of generations in each team, with the ending number of entrance years being grouped together.

1. Sr Emerentiana – Purple
2. Sr Cyprian – Pink
3. Sr Aquin – Orange
4. Sr Emanuela Betham – Silver
5. Sr Mary De Paul – Green
6. Sr Vitolia Mo’a – Red
7. Sr Rose McAloon – Brown
8. Sr Losalia Mulipola – Yellow
9. Sr Pelenatete Peni – Maroon
10. Sr Makelita Meni – Blue

Entrance Years:
Team 1 – 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011
Team 2 – 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002, 2012
Team 3 – 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003, 2013
Team 4 – 1964, 1974, 1984, 1994, 2004, 2014
Team 5 – 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005, 2015
Team 6 – 1956, 1966, 1976, 1986, 1996, 2006, 2016
Team 7 – 1957, 1967, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007, 2017
Team 8 – 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988, 1998, 2008
Team 9 – 1959, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009
Team 10 – 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010