East side parishes tasked with taking over Catholic schools in Lepua
Marist Saint Francis school, which started off as an all-girls institution later became co-ed when the Marist Brothers all-boys school in Atu'u closed down in the late 80s because there weren't enough Brothers to oversee the operations. And now the eastern side of the Diocese — from Faga'alu to Alao — has been tasked by the Bishop to see if they are able to take over the operations of both Marist St. Francis and Mary the Mother Montessori
According to Monsignor Viane Etuale, St. Francis School was very popular in the 50s and 60s, as it had a commercial school that taught shorthand and typing (secretarial work), and many of its graduates were hired by the private sector and government — some are still working for ASG today — because of their skills.
Sister Patrick was the most popular nun at the school and a lot of St. Francis alumni remember her.
Msgr. Viane told Samoa News that when Marist Brothers closed its doors, enrollment dropped and the boys were shuffled over to St. Francis.
Marist was added to the name, and Marist St. Francis was born.
Today, the school's current enrollment stands at 140 students, and it is still operated by the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago, under the Office of Catholic Education.
"In the meantime, the eastern side of the Diocese — from Faga'alu to Alao — has been tasked by the Bishop to see if they are able to take over the operations of both Marist St. Francis and Mary the Mother Montessori (both in Lepua) in the future," said Msgr. Viane. "There is a transition team made up of members from each of the eight eastern parishes working on this task. To date, a lot has been done by the transition team, including a whole new face-lift of the schools that probably cost over $10,000."
There are five schools under the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago. They are: Fa'asao Marist High School, St. Theresa's Elementary, Marist St. Francis Elementary, Fatuoaiga Montessori School, and Mary the Mother Montessori School in Lepua.
Msgr. Viane is the interim principal of Marist St. Francis, and Akenese Iosefo serves as principal of Mary the Mother Montessori school.
Local catholics, and non-Catholics who have children that attend Marist St. Francis and Mary the Mother Montessori, are grateful for the members of the east side parishes who have stepped up and answered the call for help, assisting the school through various work that continues to keep the doors of Marist St. Francis open to serve the community.