By Peter Pella
1999 was the first full academic year for Patricia and me. For me, the year’s memorable event started with the Sport’s season.’ I had so much fun helping to train our student athletes and watching them improve everyday. Hingano would lead the early morning running exercises, and Tali lead the afternoon warm-ups running around the field with the athletes in pursuit. I was so glad that I didn’t have to run around with them! When the competition took place, I was amazed at the number of schools that participated, and I was happy that our QSC athletes did so well taking many medals and setting new records. As for the students under the big blue and white tent, they are the best cheerleaders in the kingdom!
Several events took place this year that again reminded me of the special role QSC plays in the kingdom. The opening of Parliament was a chance for me to march with students and teachers to the palace and greet the King. I was very happy to see former QSC students I taught last year on the sidewalks calling out greetings. I felt like we were celebrities. On a more somber note, I was grieving to witness the traditional royal ceremonies and customs at the funeral of Prince Tu’ipelehake. I will always carry a vivid picture in my mind of so many men carrying the funeral bier to the Royal Tombs. It had to be so heavy! It was interesting to have such a close-up view of this process and it has given me a greater appreciation of the Tongan ways of life and death. The death Prince Tu’ipelehake also marked 100 days of mourning, and it seemed that with everyone wearing black for so long a time, it came as a surprise to see bright colors again.
Even closer to home was the death of our own Matthew Kurian. I’m sure we were all surprised and saddened when we learned about the death of this good gentleman and the circumstances surrounding it.’ His funeral was very moving for me, and reminded me of funerals usually reserved for Heads of State back home in the US. I was overwhelmed by the magnificent church services and the great numbers of people that attended. It felt so reassuring to be part of the QSC family of students and teachers as we all marched together before we said our final goodbyes ‘ ‘Ofa atu Matthew!
As we closed out the academic year, it was with a great sense of satisfaction to know that our students participated in various academic competitions such as the titration competition, the National Science Quiz and Chem Quiz 99.’ Congratulations to those that participated and to the 2nd Place winners in the National Science Quiz!’ I now feel that I have been at Queen Salote College long enough now to have a favorite hymn. The last word rhymes with ‘Christopher’. Can you guess it?
[ref: ‘ Peter Pella 1999]