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Chanel College celebrates 50th Anniversary

The American Samoa Chanel College alumni chapter members returned from Apia last weekend after celebrating their alma mater's 50th birthday that was held in Moamoa. Marist priests from New Zealand founded Chanel College in 1962. The first rector was Rev. Fr. Doherty who has passed away.

Many old students from around the world traveled to Apia to mark a double celebration—that of Samoa's golden jubilee and Chanel College's 50th anniversary. American Samoa's current president, Taufete'e John Jr. Faumuina, a pioneer student of Chanel College did not make the trip to Apia for the celebrations because of family obligations. 

But the faipule in the House of Representatives from Fagatogo, vice president, Vailiuama Steve Leasiolagi led a group from the territory to Moamoa last Saturday. Other former students who attended the Chanel College festivities were: Dr. Jerome Amoa, Maiava Leo Migo, Lamositele Jerome Lamositele Sio, Meleisea Vaito'elau Filiga and Falaniko Vitolio among others.

Many students from American Samoa attended Chanel College when it was established in 1962. Some of those are: Iu Joe Pereira, Vaitoa Hans Langkilde, Ali'imau Jr., Andrew and young brother Scanlan, Junior Hall, Tony Langkilde, Rev. Fiti Aofia, Francis and Joe Leasiolagi, Tony and Filipo Laupapa, Dean and Jerry Ross, Herman and Peter Gebauer, Sam White, Father Petelo Siliako, Monsignor Maselino Paulo, Fagafaga Daniel Langkilde, Moeipologa John Pereira, Richard Seumanutafa, Loititi Maselino and Atonio Ioane, Rommel and Liki Reid, Robert Tuala, Dr. Vanessa Venasio Sele, Rev. Fuimaono Asaua Fuimaono, Silivelio Ke'e Iosefo, Manuele Brown, Vui Manuele Iosefo, Jay Kruse, Aramoa Apa, Lusi Te'o, Peter Te'o, Sepp Steffany, Ma’elega Poe and Sanele Faumuina, Otto Thomsen, Lafi and Peni Malietoa.

The group from here took part in the two-day golf tournament that raised $22,000. Faipule Vailiuama's golf team came second behind the Samoa championship squad. On Monday evening, a corporate dinner was held at the Maliu Mai club in Fugalei where top entertainers in Samoa, Fa’anana Jerome Grey, Stock Paselio Tovi'o and Felise Mikaele — all ex-students of Chanel College— performed.

The Chanel College anniversary celebrations lasted for five days. Many other sports activities and sight seeing were planned. On Tuesday evening, a traditional ava ceremony was held at the old Vanila Primary school building that is now the headquarters of the Chanel College Alumni at Moamoa to welcome members from the four corners of the globe.

The head of the Samoa Catholic Archdiocese, Archbishop Alapati Mata'iliga who also attended Chanel College celebrated an open air Mass at the college compound in Moamoa to officially open the historical get together of old students last Wednesday. Former teachers, Father Kevin Mears, Fr. Conrad Bryan, Bishop O'Connell, Fr. Bryan O'Connell and others came from New Zealand to attend the 50th birthday of Chanel College. Fr. Conrad Bryan was the deputy rector of the college when it started in 1962.

Samoa's Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Taisi Lealofi Efi and wife, Filifilia were present during the Mass. Prime Minister Tuila'epa Lupesolia'i Malielegaoi Sa'ilele also attended along with deputy prime minister, Lauofo who is also an ex student of Chanel College.

Tuila’epa made a presentation of WS$50,000 to Chanel College on behalf of the Samoa government and thanked present and past principals and faculty members for their hard work in educating and turning out leaders of Samoa in government, church and in the private sector over the years. 

Current students performed pese and siva to entertain the close to 1000 ex students, PTA members, supporters and invited guests that attended the first day of activities. A career day was  arranged where alumni members and former teachers reminisced on their days at the college. They also advised students on how to navigate their future in careers they would choose in life.

Last Saturday, Chanel College’s under 19 rugby team wrestled the championship and shield from Marist when the two undefeated teams met for the last match of the season. Chanel College won a close game, 10-9.

Many ex-students from American Samoa, New Zealand and Samoa turned out to cheer for their team. The Wellington chapter, led by Ben Masoe, Paul Betham, Su’a Pelenato Petelo, John Tavoi and others donated new uniforms for the Chanel team.

On Sunday, a big to'ana'i was held at the College and a wave of tears streamed down as many alumni members bid farewell. Rev. Father Kevin Mears traveled to American Samoa on Monday this week and met with other  members here who did not attend the celebrations. He left on Wednesday.