Top Foundation Year Student Walks in Mom’s Footsteps 34 Years Later


The top Foundation student for 2021 was taken by 18 year old Czarina Elisaia. A celebration made even more special, because her mother received the exact same award as a Foundation student.

“I thank my mom Maria Lei Sam Elisaia who has always been beside me every step of the way and I am humbled to be able to receive this year’s Top Overall award and Top Science student, much like she did 34 years ago here at NUS.”

The National University of Samoa (NUS) held its Foundation class graduation ceremony for 400 graduates last Thursday.

Hundreds of proud family members packed into the University’s gymnasium to witness the graduating class of 2021 who received Foundation Certificates in Agriculture, Education, Nursing, Science, Commerce, Arts and General studies.

Czarina Elisaia from Vailele, Satupaitea and Taufusi received the Latu Lawyers trophy and cash prize of $300 tala for the top foundation student of Human Biology, the SSAB trophy and $200 tala voucher and Patrick Buckley $200 tala cash prize for being the top Chemistry student, the SSAB trophy and $200 tala voucher for Technology, the SITA $100 tala cash prize and SSAB trophy and $200 tala voucher for first equal in Computing.

Topping four subjects earned Ms Elisara the SROS trophy MD plaque for Top Overall Foundation Science student.

Walking in her mother’s footsteps, Ms Elisara then took out the Hon Misa Telefoni Retzlaff Tophy, $250 tala cash prize, Bible and Tautai novel for being the Top Overall Foundation student for 2021.

“The word gratitude best encapsulates the feeling and mood of today,” she told the media after the ceremony.

“I would like to acknowledge and give all the glory and praise to God for his continued guidance, protection and blessings over us. I would like to thank the NUS staff and more importantly the lectures that we have had the privilege and opportunity to learn from this year..”

Czarina also acknowledged her parents hard work and unending support of her school journey.

She thanked her father, Samoa’s Ambassador in Fiji, Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia.

“Although my father has been away in Fiji for almost a year now, he has always been a pillar of support in my life..”

Maria Lei Sam Elisaia said Czerina is the youngest of her five children, and as a young girl she grew up in New York and attended school there when their family were called as Samoa’s Ambassadors to USA and the United Nations.

“She was only seven months when we were called to New York, and 17 when we returned so all of her school life has been in New York”

Czarina then attended Samoa College for two years before the Foundation NUS class.